OHB and ESA Signing Contract for the Analysis and De-sign of an European AIS Satellite Constellation for Global Ship Tracking
The European Space Agency ESA and OHB-System AG, a subsidiary of the European space travel and technology group OHB Technology AG (Prime Standard, ISIN: DE0005936124), have signed a contract for the analysis and design of a satellite constellation for global ship tracking. The contract has a volume of around EUR 1 million.
The satellite constellation is being studied by a European industrial team under the lead management of OHB-System AG. The industrial team comprises the Norwegian Defence Research Institute (Norway), Kongsberg Seatex (Norway), Thales Alenia Space (France), OIP Sensor Systems (Belgium), Royal Military Academy (Belgium) and SES Astra Techcom (Luxembourg). Further consultancy for governmental and national user requirements will be given from the Euopean Union Satellite Center (Spain) and Thales Underwater Systems (France).
Within this contract, a constellation of small satellites in a low earth orbit will be studied, with the objective to receive the VHF signals emitted from the AIS (Automatic Identification System) equipment on-board ships. All passenger and freighter ships larger than 300 gross register tons are bound to carry AIS transmitters. This system transmits the ship position and courses every 2 till 180 seconds, to be used by other ships for collision avoidance. These data are also relevant for authorities and ship-owners to monitor sea lanes, fishing areas, and ports as well as for the management of ship traffic. The planed satellite constellation enables global tracking of ships on open seas as a complement to the existing costal AIS receiving stations with limited range.