PAZ launch cancelled, Spain is breaking contract with ISC Kosmotras

Spanish military reconnaissance satellite PAZ, which should be launched this year, probably would not reach space for a longer period of time. Spanish side officially cancelled contract with Russian ISC Kosmotras due the multiple delays of the launch. 

PAZ (and second satellite contracted in same time, INGENIO) was Spanish military satellite designed to utilize SAR radar to provide images in high resolution and with high details level. Satellite was part of the Spanish National Earth Observation Program (PNOTS) shared by the Spanish Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. Project of PAZ started in 2007 with Spanish division of Astrium as main contractor and until now, whole project cost Spanish government €160 million. Company responsible for operating satellite and managing the contract for design and manufacturing, along with supervising launch service, was Hisdesat - joint venture Company established by Spanish Ministry of Defense and Hispasat. Hispasat is Spanish satellite operator providing satellite broadcasting and communication services on civilian market utilizing for K and X band frequencies. Hisdesat was established in 2001 to extend company's profile for operating military satellites for Spanish Armed Forces; Hisdesat already provides military satellite services for Denmark and USA. Hisdesat signed contract with Spanish Ministry of Defense for PAZ in 2008. EADS (Astrium) created PAZ according to contract and Hisdesat chosen launch service provider: Russian company ISC Kosmotras, which is operating Dnepr rockets (converted ICBM modified in Ukrainian Yuzhnoe Design Office) from Baikonur and Dombarovskiy cosmodromes. Launch was scheduled for the beginning of the 2015, but due the political tensions between Ukraine and Russia, whole activity of ISC Kosmotras was halted. Russian authorities cancelled launch permission for Ukrainian rockets operating from Russian cosmodromes and launch of PAZ on atop of Dnepr rocket was postponed without any estimated launch date. After eighteen months of delay, Hisdesat decided to cancel contract and start to seek for alternative launch service provider. According to El Pais (20 July 2016), Hisdesat will try to recover €15 million, which were paid to ISC Kosmotras for launch and next, it will try to find new launch service provider with offer fitting in present budget. Company is still considering signing new contract with another Russian company due the fact that American launch service providers are still offering more expensive services.

PAZ and INGENIO were considered as modern enter to space for Spanish military. Both were designed by Spanish EADS; INGENIO was designed as light (830 kg) optical imaging satellite equipped with multispectral and panchromatic imaging device with operational life at 7 years. It will be placed on SSO orbit on altitude of 668 km; satellite will provide images with 10 m resolution in multispectral mode and 2 m in panchromatic mode. PAZ was more sophisticated construction. It weighs 1341 kg and its hexagonal fuselage has dimensions of 5 m x 2.4 m. Its Synthetic Aperture Radar was design to provide high resolution images-satellite will be able to provide 200 images daily of 300000 square kilometers during flight performed with average speed at 25200 km/h on 514 km orbit. Available resolution will be from 1 to 15 m depending on scanned surface (radar is able to gradually change its imaging range from 5 km x 10 km to 100 km x 100 km).   Satellite was designed to store images on onboard memory bank (320 Gb) and downlink with speed at 300 Mbits on X band; for command uplink satellite will utilize S band transmitter with speed of encrypted transmission at 4 kbit/s.  Antenna for downlink on X band was installed on deployable boom to avoid jamming by radar antennas placed on the sides of fuselage. Power consumption on orbit is planned for 100 W; power will be provided by two deployable solar arrays (5.25 square meters, triple junction Gallium Arsenide panels) and onboard lithium batteries with capacity of 108 Ah. Attitude control is based on reaction wheels (magneto torquers for wheel unloading) and hydrazine thrusters. They are controlled by onboard computer, which is using star tracker, GPS receiver for evaluating orbital position (with accuracy up to 10 cm) and CESS (Coarse Earth & Sun Sensors). Orbit determination will be supported with Laser Retroreflector for precision altitude evaluation.

According to El Pais, Hisdesat is considering Roscosmos with Soyuz rocket and SpaceX with FalconX as potential launch service providers for PAZ.

On picture above: image created with SAR radar.