The European Space Agency (ESA) has launched its Pan-European Satellite Telecom Adaptor programme in partnership with satellite services company Telespazio and the Italian Piedmont region's civil protection agency.

The programme will lead to standardised technology among European nations’ government emergency response agencies for the transmission of audio and video and data to and from disaster zones anywhere in the world.

On 28 March ESA announced its €100 million ($131 million) contract award to Germany’s OHB-System for a 300kg (660lb) 3kW powered small geostationary telecommunications satellite platform that would operate for 15-years. The contract comes as part of ESA's Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems programme.

OHB-System will develop and manufacture a flight model of a generic bus that will be followed by construction, test and preparation of a demonstration spacecraft for launch in 2010. The satellite’s payload will be selected by tender by the second quarter of 2008.