Equipment from Saab Ericsson Space on Envisat environmental satellite
On the 1st of March at 01:07 GMT the environmental satellite Envisat
left the launch pad at Kourou, French Guiana on an Ariane 5 launch
vehicle. For a period of five years and from an altitude of 800 km the
satellite will transmit data to earth on world climate and its changes.
Saab Ericsson Space in Göteborg, Sweden won its Envisat contracts in
1994. It was the largest project in the company's history at that time,
representing an order worth close to SEK 400 million.
For the satellite and the launch vehicle, Saab Ericsson Space has
supplied equipment from all of its product areas; computers, microwave
electronics, antennas and separation systems & adapters.
ENVISAT 1 (ENVIronmental SATellite) is contracted and financed by
organizations within the European Space Agency (ESA) and is part of the
Agency's earth observation program. The first European weather satellite
was launched as early as the late-1970s and has since been followed by a
number of others.
ENVISAT 1 will circle the earth at an altitude of 800 km in a solar-
synchronous, polar orbit taking 100 minutes per revolution. The
satellite will repeat the same sequence of orbits every 35 days. The
operating ranges of most of the instruments onboard are such that the
surface of the earth can be scanned in one to three days. The weight of
the satellite is 8.2 tons and its instruments alone weight 2 tons.
Atmosphere, land, sea and ice will be observed on a continuous basis. A
number of ground stations in Europe and Canada, connected to ESA's Data
Relay Satellite System, will receive the data gathered and monitor the
Saab Ericsson Space is involved in three of Envisat's six remote
One of the instruments, Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) capable
of scanning areas up to 400 km wide, is for studying e.g. vegetation,
ice propagation, water pollution and ocean waves. The radar produces map-
like images of the earth's surface and, unlike earlier optical
instruments, it accomplishes this despite unfavorable weather
Saab Ericsson Space has contributed with a computer that processes the
radar's image signals, and microwave electronics that generate and
convert the radar's pulses.
A Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS), with a scanning width
of more than 1500 km, registers emissions radiated from earth to study
e.g. chlorophyll content and pollution of the oceans, coastal erosion,
sea ice, snow depth and clouds. A computer from Saab Ericsson Space
controls and monitors the instrument.
A Global Ozone Monitoring by Occulation of Stars, or GOMOS, instrument
that measures the atmosphere's content of gases, including ozone, is
also monitored by a Saab Ericsson Space computer.
In addition to ESA's instruments, there are four more that have been
developed on a national or bilateral level.
Moreover, Saab Ericsson Space has supplied the onboard computers,
separation system and adapter of the Ariane 5 launcher, plus the
reflector antenna and main computer of the satellite platform.
Considerable Swedish investment
The entire Envisat project costs about SEK 20 billion, including
development, construction and launch. The satellite is to operate for
five years and the operating cost amounts to just under SEK 3 billion,
which includes data downloading and processing, control stations, etc.
Sweden's contribution to the Envisat project amounts to approx. SEK 800
million or about 4% of the total cost.
Saab Ericsson Space is an international, independent supplier of space
equipment. The company's main products are computers, microwave
electronics and antennas, guidance and separation systems, and thermal
insulation material for use onboard satellites and launch vehicles. The
company has its headquarters in Göteborg, Sweden, a division located in
Linköping, Sweden and subsidiaries in Austria, Austrian Aerospace, and
the USA, Saab Ericsson Space Inc. The number of employees is 680.
The company is jointly-owned by Saab and Ericsson.
For further information, please contact:
Iréne Svensson, Communications Director
Phone: +46 31 735 44 63,
+46 705 35 08 18
Fax: +46 31 735 40 45
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