European space company Astrium, its UK subsidiary the National Remote Sensing Centre and UK company Barwell are forming a new company, InfoTerra, early next year to take advantage of the anticipated growth in the geo-information market.

The company will initially have revenues in excess of €20 million ($16.8 million), with income expected to grow to "several hundred million Euros" within 10 years from the agriculture, forestry, oil and gas exploration, telecommunications, mapping and security markets, says Astrium.

InfoTerra will initially provide geo-information services derived from existing airborne and satellite-based sensors. From 2005, the company will use imagery from two multi-channel TerraSAR radar satellites. The 600km (370 miles) altitude polar-orbiting satellites will pass over the same ground area every six to seven days and return 1m-resolution images.

The German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the British National Space Centre are already supporting TerraSAR under a private-public partnership. Astrium, which is seeking additional partners, is also considering the expansion of InfoTerra into France where it has geo-information interests.

The creation of the new company follows a two-year market research initiative, which has determined that higher quality and more detailed satellite data, provided at a faster speed, is needed to support future market demand.

Source: Flight International