The contract follows the October 2009 agreement between Astrium and the Kazakh government to embark on a broad satellite development effort whose long-term goal is to create an autonomous Kazakh satellite manufacturing capability.
The 2009 agreement, which was signed during a bilateral French-Kazakh summit and valued at 230 million euros ($336 million), calls for Astrium to provide a high-resolution Earth observation satellite to Kazakhstan, and for SSTL to provide a medium-resolution spacecraft. The SSTL and Astrium satellites being built under the 2009 agreement are scheduled for launches in 2014.
In March, the UK Space Agency concluded a memorandum of understanding under which Kazakh personnel would be trained by SSTL through exchanges with KGS. In its July 1 announcement, SSTL said 16 Kazakh engineers have worked in Britain under the previous agreement.
SSTL said the new satellite would include an SSTL-built EarthMapper payload for commercial Earth observation imagery in addition to other payload elements including an on-board computer. A smaller satellite, to carry an instrument for ionospheric research, will be developed by SSTL and Ghalam.
More related articles