CSO-1 is the first satellite of the Optical Space Component (CSO – Composante Spatiale Optique) program, a constellation of three satellites dedicated to Earth observation for defense and security. They will be placed into polar orbit at different altitudes, and will carry out two different missions: reconnaissance for CSO-1 and CSO-3, and identification for CSO-2.
The French CNES space agency is delegated as the contracting authority for the Optical Space Component (CSO) program and its mission ground segment, as well as being the overall system co-architect. CNES also is responsible for orbital positioning, in-orbit acceptance testing and satellite operation. France’s DGA defense procurement agency is contracting authority for the construction and through-life maintenance of the user ground segment, and will serve as the interface between the sensors deployed in space and the operators. The French armed forces headquarters is the operating authority for CSO.
The successor to the Helios 1 and 2 systems, CSO will address France and Europe’s operational needs for global intelligence and strategic surveillance, knowledge of the geographic environment and support for operational deployments.
As France’s third generation of military satellites, CSO was developed in a national framework and will remain accessible to European partners. Indeed, Germany, Sweden and Belgium already have joined the CSO community, and an agreement with Italy is expected shortly.
The CSO-1 satellite will be placed in a Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 800 km. It will be used to take 3D pictures and acquire very-high-resolution images in the visible and infrared bandwidths, day or night and in fair weather, and using a variety of imaging modes to meet as many operational requirements as possible.