Press Release

EU Earth observation: OHB System AG has been awarded a contract for the development phase of the Copernicus Sentinel-2 Next Generation

European Space Agency ESA relies on OHB's high level of expertise in the development of Earth observation satellites

Bremen, 15 January 2023 – The view from space is crucial for observing our blue planet even more closely to obtain more precise data for tackling climate change as well as for monitoring and mapping the Earth's surface. Therefore, work is already underway to develop the next generation of Sentinel-2 satellites for the European Earth observation programme Copernicus. The OHB System AG, a subsidiary of the space and technology group OHB SE, has been contracted by the European Space Agency (ESA) for the mission and system definition of the Next Generation Sentinel-2 mission, and to prepare the following implementation phase. Two parallel contracts of a volume of six million euros each and a nominal duration of 2.5 years have been awarded by ESA for this so-called definition phase.

The two current Sentinel-2 satellites, in orbit since 2015 and 2017, are already providing valuable services for farming and forestry as well as climate and disaster protection. Their high-resolution, multispectral images in the optical and near-infrared range between 443 and 2190 nanometres observe the condition of soils and plants. With its 13 channels, the multispectral instrument offers a resolution of up to 10 metres and a wide swath width of 290 kilometres. Sentinel-2 can take an image of an area every five days and is also able to monitor inland and coastal waters.

“We will enhance this performance significantly. With the next generation, it will be possible to revisit each site every three days with a considerably improved image resolution of up to 5 metres and an even greater spectral accuracy. This will enable farmers, for instance, to plan the cultivation of their fields even better, which will contribute to increased food security,” says Dr Stephan Holsten, Head of the Earth Observation Mission & Applications Department at OHB´s Predevelopment.

To achieve these goals, OHB and its partners will continue to develop cutting-edge technologies such as highly stable ceramics and free-form optics so that the instruments can withstand the varying temperatures and vibrations in space and deliver results with an improved precision even under harsh environmental conditions. “This will be an incredible technological leap forward in every respect and we are honoured that ESA is once again relying on our expertise and high level of skills in developing Earth observation satellites," says Holsten.

As the prime contractor for Sentinel-2 Next Generation Phase A/B study, OHB System AG is responsible for developing the design of the mission, platform, and instrument in collaboration with the following partners: ACRI-ST, EREMS, GMV, Politecnico di Torino, SENER, SysDICE, AMOS (Consultant), CSL (Consultant), SCHUNK (Consultant).

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