Bird & Bird part of the OHB consortium picked by the European Commission to develop spatial reconnaissance capabilities at European level

Bird & Bird is part of the consortium led by OHB System AG, a subsidiary of the German space and technology group OHB SE, which has been selected by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space (DG DEFIS) to conduct a study aimed at developing reconnaissance capabilities at a European level.

The contract, signed at the 16th European Space Conference in Brussels, focuses on conducting a study to examine the technological and programmatic framework for the development of a new European Earth-Observation Service (EOGS) for government-authorised users, which may include the development of new satellite-based reconnaissance capabilities at European level.

This contract is critical in allowing the European Union to underpin its decision-making process with high-quality, exclusive, and reliable information – especially in the context of rising geopolitical tensions and the climate crisis – satellite reconnaissance will enable both the European Union as a union of states and the member states to easily collect, access and use this information taken from space from any point on the Earth’s surface without infringing the sovereign rights of other states. So far, only individual member states have satellite reconnaissance capacity which means they primarily collect reconnaissance data for their own use.

Starting this year, a pilot project will be set up by the EU Satellite Centre within Copernicus, with the participation of the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA), to test a preliminary service and establish trust-based governance for the Member States.

The consortium is composed by OHB System AG acting as the coordinator, OHB Digital Connect GmbH as the expert for satellite operations and the French CS Group, which is contributing its many years of experience in satellite ground systems and image data processing, leading the implementation. Further partners in the European consortium are Bird & Bird (France), Geosystems (Germany and Greece), OHB Digital Services (Germany), Tekever (Portugal), Geo4I (France), OHB Sweden (Sweden) and Officina Stellare (Italy).

Leading the Bird & Bird team from the Paris office is Jean-Claude Vecchiatto, partner in our Finance & Financial Regulation Group, head of our Aviation, Space & Defence team in Paris and co-head of our global Space and Satellite Group, alongside Jean-Michel Communier, senior European Counsel in Public Law, and Elie Badawi, associate in Finance & Financial Regulation, working in the firm’s Aviation, Space & Defence team and the Space & Satellites group.

Jean-Claude Vecchiatto, partner at Bird & Bird comments:This project is strategic to reinforce the sovereignty and resilience of the European Union and to foster the development of solutions against global warming. With Iris2, this project is paving the way to the independent and green future of the EU.

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