It was one of the big bets of the Spanish aerospace industry, which was going to be in charge of its control, communications and processing the data it was going to provide for several years, but the mission of the European Space Agency in charge of putting it into orbit has failed. A failed mission that cost about 200 million euros.
The rocket “Vega” that transported it – together with the French satellite “Taranis” – drifted off course a few minutes after launch from the Kuru space complex (in French Guiana) and ESA is already investigating the causes of the failure that made the mission fail.
He was also going to complete the National Program for Observation of the Earth by Satellite (PNOTS), together with the also Spanish “Paz”, in orbit since 2018, and to scan the Earth from space for the next seven years, although it had fuel to have endured ten.
Equipped with a sophisticated optical camera, the satellite would have the ability to point to different sides and access anywhere on Earth in just three days, and thus complement the radar technology of the “Peace”. Capable of taking 600 images a day and circling the Earth almost 15 times a day.
One hundred percent Spanish, the mission was financed by the Spanish Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI) of the Ministry of Science and Innovation, but was in turn framed within a sophisticated European Earth observation architecture.
With a cost of around 200 million euros -including the launch- the design and construction of the “Ingenio” and all the instruments with which it was equipped has for years involved the main companies of the Spanish aerospace sector.
The main contractor was Airbus Defense & Space Spain, but the most important companies in the Spanish aerospace sector had been involved in the consortium: CRISA, Deimos Space, GMV, GTD, HV Sistemas, Iberespacio, INDRA, SENER or Thales Alenia Space.
But it also involved numerous public bodies, and among them the National Institute of Space Technology (INTA) dependent on the Ministry of Defense and which was going to be in charge of mission control and communications from its facilities in Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid). and data processing.
INTA was going to take control of the mission after the first phases, those of launching and placing the satellite in the orbit that was planned, and for this The ground stations of Torrejón de Ardoz and those of Maspalomas were already prepared (in the Canary Islands), in addition to an “additional” communication located in Svalbard, in Norway.
The “Ingenio”, which was to be located 700 kilometers from Earth, planned to place itself in a “heliosynchronous” orbit (following the direction of the sun as if it were a sunflower), and deploy its hexagonal platform with three solar panels of almost 800 kilos.
From there he had to provide images with a extraordinary level of detail, These could be available to numerous national and international companies and organizations, useful for monitoring natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes or fires in real time when they are occurring, or to combat global challenges such as climate change.
A mission, now frustrated, able to scrutinize land cover and to report valuable information for many disciplines, such as cartography, land use surveillance, urban development or water management, emergency management or security.
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