Arianespace to launch CERES intelligence satellites for CNES and DGA
Arianespace has signed a launch services contract with French space agency CNES for the new CERES signals intelligence satellites.
The CERES (Capacité de Renseignement d’origine Electromagnétique Spatiale) system will enable France to collect, by the year 2020, signals intelligence in areas that are not accessible by surface sensors, under all weather conditions and without any legal constraints concerning overflight zones.
The contracting authority for the CERES program is the French defense procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement), which has chosen Airbus Defence and Space and co-contractor Thales Alenia Space to build the system.
CNES will be involved at this level in an integrated DGA-CNES team, as well as acting as delegated program authority, especially for procurement of launch services.
Stéphane Israël, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, and Marc Pircher, Director of the Toulouse Space Center, announced today that they had signed the launch contract for the CERES mission.
The mission into low Earth orbit (LEO) will use a Vega light launcher.
Following the signature of this contract, Arianespace Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Israël said: “We are very honored at the trust expressed in us by the DGA and CNES to orbit the satellites in the CERES system, using our Vega light launcher. The intelligence capabilities offered by France, and by Europe in general, are a key to the security of our citizens. Satellite systems are a very effective means of improving security, and we are proud of our contribution, which reflects our primary mission, namely guaranteeing reliable and independent access to space for Europe. This contract also marks the latest business win for Vega, which is increasingly seen as the benchmark launcher in its class.”
Arianespace is the world’s leading satellite launch company. Founded in 1980, Arianespace deploys a family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, to meet the needs of both commercial and government customers, and has performed over 270 launches to date. Backed by its 20 shareholders and the European Space Agency, Arianespace is the only company in the world capable of launching all types of payloads into all orbits, from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana. As of January 5, 2016, Arianespace had carried out 227 Ariane launches, 39 Soyuz launches (13 at the Guiana Space Center and 26 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, via Starsem) and six Vega launches. Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a facility at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.