Sofradir wins first contract from Indian Space Agency


Include longer-life cooled IR detectors, optimized for size, weight & power

Line of IRimaging engines based on cryogenically cooled MCT infrared detectors

Sofradir, a lead developer and manufacturer of advanced IR (infrared) detectors for military, space and industrial applications, announces that ISRO/SAC, (Indian Space Research Organization's Space Applications Center) in Ahmedabad has awarded Sofradir a 2.5 year infrared detector contract. Under the contract, Sofradir will develop large format infrared detector prototypes for testing and will deliver numerous flight models. Sofradir specialises in sophisticated, high performance MCT (Mercury Cadmium Teluride) to which the InSb, InGaAs and QWIP technologies have recently been added, for cooled IR detectors . The contract value is undisclosed. "We are proud to become a supplier to the ISRO, a major player in the space community," said Philippe Bensussan, chairman and CEO at Sofradir. "This is Sofradir's first contract for flight models with the SAC. Foremost, it is the outcome of several years' close cooperation with the IR team at SAC that included delivering IR detectors for ground testing. It is also a result of our growing reputation as a reliable supplier of technically innovative IR detectors that have proven robust performance in space." ISRO/SAC will receive flight models of Sofradir's best selling space applications IR detector, the large format 1000x256 Saturn SWIR (ShortWave InfraRed). In the last four years, Sofradir delivered as many as 10 Saturn SWIR flight models to aerospace companies. ISRO/SAC will use Saturn SWIR for future projects within the scope of India's hyperspectral earth observation satellite developments. Compared to Sofradir's Saturn SWIR detectors currently deployed in space instruments, such as PRISMA and TROPOMI, Sofradir will integrate two new features on top of Saturn SWIR's space proven configuration. The innovations will meet ISRO/SAC's requirements for added performance. The first innovation consists of a new long-life high-power active cooler. This longer-life cooler has been designed to extend the operating lifetime of Saturn SWIR from one to four years, as a single robust element. The second innovation involves an integrated custom optical filter that significantly reduces the complexity of optics located in front of the detector. "With this new contract, we'll be expanding our offer in space applications to include longer-life cooled IR detectors optimized for size, weight and power," said Bensussan. "Our customers will benefit greatly from this development." ISRO focuses on developing capabilities in India to build and launch communication satellites for television broadcast and telecommunications, meteorological satellites, as well as remote sensing satellites for managing natural resources. Recently Sagem (a member of the Safran Group), Thales and Sofradir signed an agreement for Sofradir to acquire Sagem and Thales' IR detector technology development and manufacture facilities. IR detectors performance and price are key to the competitiveness of optronics systems. Under the agreement, Sagem transfers to Sofradir the InSb (indium-antimonide) technology. The QWIP (quantum well-infrared photodetector) and InGaAs (indium-gallium-arsenide ) technologies transfers to Sofradir from the GIE III-V Lab, an economic interest group with partners Alcatel Lucent, Thales and research institute CEA (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives) the French nuclear energy and alternate energies commission. Indian Space Research Organisation Sofradir