Earth Imaging Journal: Remote Sensing, Satellite Images, Satellite Imagery
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June 23, 2015
Sofradir Delivers a Record 24 Infrared Detectors for the Sentinel 2 Space Mission

Palaiseau, near Paris, France, June 24, 2015 — Sofradir, the global leader of advanced infrared (IR) detectors for military, space and industrial applications, today announces it delivered 24 shortwave IR detectors (SWIR) to Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) for the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-2 mission.

ADS provided two MultiSpectral Imager instruments (MSI) for the Sentinel-2 mission that offer high-resolution infrared optical imagery. They will provide high-resolution optical imaging to monitor the Earth and thereby provide continuity for the SPOT (an Earth observation system) and Landsat missions. The MSI will measure the Earth’s reflected radiance in 13 spectral bands from the visible (440nm) to shortwave infrared (2190nm). To meet the requirements of the space mission, 12 of Sofradir‘s SWIR detectors are on board the Sentinel-2A satellite that launched earlier today. The remaining 12 devices are assigned to the Sentinel 2B satellite, whose launch is planned for 2016.

Large format SWIR detectors (1200 x 3 effective lines, 15-micron pitch) are highly complex devices that only a handful of manufacturers in the world can produce to space-grade standards. Sofradir is the sole European manufacturer to have its IR detectors deployed in space.

“Sofradir’s lengthening track record in space missions, the maturity of its technology and unfailing performance of its IR detectors in extreme conditions fulfill the criteria that space agencies and equipment makers seek from suppliers,” said Philippe Chorier, the space department director at Sofradir. “We are proud to participate in this ESA space mission. It is an honor to provide our customers with reliable imaging technology in the pursuit of scientific knowledge concerning the Earth’s vegetation and waterways.”

Over the past decade, Sofradir has delivered scores of IR detector flight models (close to 70) for space programs.

About Sofradir

Sofradir is the leading developer and manufacturer of key classes of advanced infrared (IR) detectors for military, space and industrial applications. Its vast IR product portfolio covers the entire spectrum from the visible and near infrared to very far infrared. Sofradir pioneers developments in cooled IR detectors based on a sophisticated high performance technology: Mercury Cadmium Telluride (MCT) to which Sofradir has added Indium Antimonide (InSb), Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs) and Quantum Well Infrared Photodetector (QWIP) technologies.

Many of the world’s missile seekers use Sofradir’s military-grade, battlefield proven IR detectors for targeting pods, armored vehicle sights, handheld thermal imagers and other airborne, naval and ground vehicle applications. Sofradir is the only European IR manufacturer to have its IR detectors deployed in space. Founded in 1986, Sofradir is headquartered in Palaiseau, near Paris. It carries out research and development as well as high volume manufacturing at two facilities: Veurey-Voroize, near Grenoble, and Palaiseau, near Paris. Sofradir owns two subsidiaries: ULIS, a high volume manufacturer of microbolometers based in Veurey-Voroize and US-based Sofradir-EC, a provider of uncooled and cooled IR imaging cores and engines, located in Fairfield, New Jersey. Together Sofradir, ULIS and Sofradir-EC employ about 750 staff.

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