Thales Alenia Space Italy bested a competing bid from Astrium Satellites’ German division for the contract, which will be the first spacecraft built for Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) program.
GMES is co-funded by ESA and the European Commission.
Sentinel-1 is expected to weigh around 2,200 kilograms at launch and to carry a C-band synthetic-aperture radar to image the Earth in swaths of 240 kilometers in diameter with a ground resolution of between 5 and 8 meters.
Sentinel-1 originally was to be launched in 2010, in time to assure data continuity for users who until then will count on the continued health of the large Envisat radar satellite. ESA officials have said Envisat, launched in March 2002, should be able to remain healthy until 2010.