Milestone for OHB: SAR-Lupe radar reconnaissance system in operation for 10 years
Bremen – The space system and technology group OHB SE is celebrating the tenth anniversary of a product with which the Bremen-based company achieved its breakthrough to become a leading German systems specialist. Back in 2007, OHB supplied the German federal armed forces with their first own satellite-based reconnaissance system. It has been operating reliably around the clock for the past ten years. SAR-Lupe allows the German federal government to respond quickly and independently in crisis situations and makes a constructive contribution to ensuring full readiness of the armed forces. “The German federal armed forces and the German Federal Ministry of Defense gave us their special trust, ultimately helping OHB to become a German systems specialist,” says Marco Fuchs, CEO of OHB SE. “Today, we are continuing our work on the original program and are already developing further systems for the Federal Republic of Germany. OHB is also the principal contractor for SAR-Lupe’s replacement, the SARah program.”
At a reception held in recognition of the tenth anniversary of the day on which the system went into operation, former Lieutenant General Kurt Herrmann, commander in chief of the strategic reconnaissance command of the German federal armed forces and, hence, the first user of SAR-Lupe, said: “I particularly remember the good and confidence-inspiring collaboration not only with the team but also with the Fuchs family. It was outstanding.” Hermann, who is currently chairman of the Clausewitz Society, went on to say that this spirit must be preserved and developed for future tasks.
SAR-Lupe marked the first time that OHB was able to lead-manage a satellite program as the principal contractor. The company developed and built the satellite system and is responsible for operating it in conjunction with the German federal armed forces. “Quite simply, it was our first major project,” says Dr. Fritz Merkle, a member of OHB SE’s Management Board. “It was the first national space-based reconnaissance program in Germany, providing the underpinnings for OHB’s current success.” The Galileo tender was submitted on the basis of the experience gained in the series-production of the five identical SAR-Lupe satellites. “SAR-Lupe catapulted OHB from regional player status to the big-time league,” says Merkle.
Adds Dr. Ingo Engeln, a member of OHB System AG’s Management Board and SAR-Lupe project manager at the time: “OHB learned an awful lot from SAR-Lupe and also benefited as a company. Many of the original team members now hold management positions at OHB.”
The idea of building small modular satellites has paid off and has also been applied to other applications such as telecommunications and navigation. OHB’s development of the SmallGEO satellite platform also incorporates the experience and success gained with SAR-Lupe as does OHB’s major success - the Galileo project. In addition, Luxembourg-based affiliate LuxSpace is developing the Triton-X small satellite with a mass of only 70 kg together with the production line for series production. Thus, the SAR-Lupe has set an example not only at OHB System AG but also in the entire OHB Group.