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Thales Altimeter chosen for US Navy satellite GFO-2

Artist depiction of the GeoSat Follow-On in orbit. Photo: Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

CANNES (BNS): Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. covering the preliminary phase for the GFO-2 RA altimeter, which will equip the new-generation Geosat Follow-On 2 (GFO-2) satellite.

Ball Aerospace is programme prime contractor on behalf of the US Navy. The measurements provided by this new-generation GFO-2 will cover all of the planetís oceans, delivering vital data for military strategy.

This preliminary phase covers the definition, design and system compatibility aspects.

"This is the first time that the United States Department of Defense has chosen a European company to supply a microwave altimeter," Reynald Seznec, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space, was quoted as saying in a Thales Group news release.

Thales Alenia Space, as a partner in this programme, will develop the bi-frequency altimeter, using a technology derived from the Poseidon family of altimeters, already in operation on the Jason series of oceanography satellites.

The final contract for the production of the altimeter is expected by the end of 2010.

Thales Alenia Space and Ball Aerospace have already teamed up on climatology, since the Caliop instrument built by Ball Aerospace was integrated in the Calipso satellite in Thales Alenia Spaceís clean rooms, within the scope of the partnership between NASA and French space agency CNES.

The aerospace company has earlier contributed in the Meteosat system, the world benchmark for geostationary weather satellites, and also the Poseidon altimeters which paved the way for operational oceanography.

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