France orders two military observation satellites at EADS Astrium
As part of the future program of space imagery for defense and security (MUSIS), France has ordered two spy satellites from EADS Astrium. They replace the current Helios 2 system.
Astrium, a subsidiary of EADS Space, has won the contract for 795 million euros to build two French military observation satellites. The responsibility for this program conducted in cooperation with Belgium, Spain, Italy and Greece, is carried out by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA).
The new satellites will succeed Helios 2, and will form the optical component space (CSO) program of the future of space imagery for defense and security Musis (Multinational Space-based imaging system). This European military project will be implemented in collaboration with Germany, Belgium, Spain, Greece and Italy.
These new satellites will be equipped with capacities greater than those of the Helios 2 satellites. They will more accurately identify smaller targets. These devices provide a larger amount of images that will soon be made available to policy makers and the armed forces. To achieve such performance, the satellites will be equipped, in particular, optical technologies provided by Thales Alenia Space.
The placing in orbit the first satellite ordered from EADS is scheduled for December 2016. The contract includes an option for the realization of a third satellite, which is subject to a financing agreement with other European countries.