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Airbus: to build Vigil satellite for ESA

( - Airbus has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to design and build the Vigil space weather forecasting satellite, the first operational mission of ESA's Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Space Security Program (S2P).

The spacecraft will provide vital additional warning to Earth of impending solar storms and coronal mass ejections that can potentially disrupt orbiting satellites and Earth's electronic and power distribution systems.

Patrick Wood, Head of Space Systems UK at Airbus Defence and Space, said that Vigil is one of the most exciting and important space missions that will not only improve our understanding of the Sun's behavior, but also crucially provide us with earlier warning and greater accuracy of potential damaging solar weather risks. Space meteorologists will be able to see what is coming from the Sun and provide more accurate warnings.

Vigil will be the first 24/7 operational space weather satellite in Europe, providing valuable time to protect critical infrastructure such as power grids or mobile communication networks on Earth, as well as valuable satellites in Earth orbit, including the International Space Station ISS, ESA said.

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