The second German military SAR-Lupe radar reconnaissance satellite is operational in orbit and is functioning “very well,” with the third in the five-satellite constellation scheduled for launch Nov. 1, OHB Technology AG Chief Executive Marco R. Fuchs said Aug. 9.
In a conference call with investors on the company’s financial performance, Fuchs said the
final two SAR-Lupe spacecraft are scheduled for launch in March and June 2008. “By this time next year the constellation should be operating,” Fuchs said. Bremen, Germany-based OHB is prime contractor for the SAR-Lupe system as part of a long-term service
contract with Germany’s defense procurement agency.
OHB is trying to sell a satellite platform derived from the SAR-Lupe design, but fitted with an optical sensor, to the Turkish government. Kurt Melching, OHB’s director of finance, said Turkish government authorities are likely to request bidders’ “best and final” offers in September, with a decision possible by late this year.
OHB is competing with Astrium and ThalesAlenia Space of Europe, among others, for the Turkish contract.
Fuchs said OHB has completed its
purchase of rival satellite builder Kayser-Threde of Munich, a purchase that will better position OHB to win German government satellite hardware business.
OHB is prime contractor for the European Space Agency’s () Small-GEO commercial satellite platform, a program intended
to make European firms
more competitive in the global market for small telecommunications satellites, notably against Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va.
The Small-GEO contract with ESA is valued at about 100 million euros ($138
million) but the agency has secured commitments from its member governments for just 70 million euros. Fuchs said he is confident that the remaining funds will be committed in October. ESA has accepted an offer from satellite-fleet operator Hispasat of Spain to launch the first Small-GEO platform in return for being able to use most of its payload.
Fuchs said the company’s satellite business, coupled with the current strength of the Ariane 5 rocket program
make it likely that OHB will reach 200 million euros in revenue
this year, compared to 186 million in 2006. OHB owns 70 percent of MT Aerospace of Augsburg, Germany, which is a major supplier of Ariane 5 rocket components.