Alenia Aerospazio has won a C$74 million ($50 million) contract to design and build the satellite bus of Canada's new Radarsat 2 Earth observation satellite. Prime contractor McDonald Dettwiler awarded the deal to Alenia after a contest involving six US and European firms. Alenia will build the craft in 16 months.

The new satellite will be based on the Prima bus developed by Alenia for the Italian space agency. The Radarsat 2 will be launched in 2002 and placed in an 800km low- Earth orbit. It is an ocean-monitoring space vehicle, to be used primarily for iceberg tracking, natural-disaster prevention and observation, environment protection and military applications.

The manufacturer plans to revamp its campaign to win support and funding to develop the Cosmo Skymed constellation of dual-role observation satellites.

Source: Flight International