Fixed-price Contracts Contained Impact of Copernicus Cost Growth


PARIS — Managers of Europe’s Copernicus program of satellite-based Earth observation have been able to use firm, fixed-price contracts with industry to limit the damage from cost overruns associated with program delays, European government officials said Nov. 22.

As a result, while Thales Alenia Space, Astrium Satellites and the dozens of other companies building Copernicus’ Sentinel satellites may have seen their profit margins narrow, the cost to the 20-nation European Space Agency (ESA) is only 2.75 percent above the budget set seven years ago.

Guido Levrini, ESA’s Copernicus space segment program manager, said current estimates are that ESA will be paying 2.56 billion euros ($3.5 billion) to build the first seven Sentinel satellites and to launch three of them.


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