In the presence of the Chilean Minister of Defence, José Goñi, Astrium signed a contract for the development of the SSOT system (“Sistema satelital para Observación de la Tierra”). SSOT comprises one high resolution Earth observation satellite and associated ground segment, a complete partnering and training programme and the satellite launch planned for early 2010.“Astrium concluded contract signature following months of intense competition, originally open to more than 20 specialist companies, involving all our current major competitors. This is a great success for our company and we are very proud that the Chilean authorities are starting their national space programme by working closely together with Astrium” said François Auque, CEO of Astrium.The SSOT high resolution Earth observation satellite will be designed, built, integrated and tested by Astrium. The SSOT programme also includes the development and setting up of a ground control segment and image processing facilities enabling the satellites to be directly operated and controlled from Chile by the Chilean authorities. The co-operation agreement makes provision for Chilean engineers to work alongside the Astrium development team. They will be given intensive training in space technology and will participate directly in SSOT project development.The system will enable Chile to obtain extremely high quality images for use in a wide variety of applications both in the defence and civil domains: cartography; agricultural management; forestry; water, mineral and oil resources; crop protection; natural disaster response; urban planning, etc.SSOT is equipped with a latest-generation payload capable of supplying images with a resolution of 1.45m in panchromatic mode and 5.8m in each of four colour bands in multispectral mode.With the signature of this export contract Astrium has again demonstrated its ability to offer attractive partnering solutions in the Earth observation field. It follows the FORMOSAT-2 satellite launched on 20 May 2004, the Korean KOMPSAT-2 and COMS satellites, the THEOS satellite developed for Thailand and the two ALSAT-2 satellites currently being built for Algeria.Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2007, Astrium had a turnover of €3.5 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, and Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment, and its wholly owned subsidiary Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services.