[SatNews] Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales), the French space agency, for a feasibility study regarding the development of a high-resolution optical remote sensing satellite system designed as a follow-on to the Pleiades satellites early in next decade. Through the second half of 2016, this study will define the system’s optimal design and select the technologies to be applied.
As the provider of all of Europe’s high-resolution optical instruments in Europe since Helios-1, launched in 1995, Thales Alenia Space, under a co-contractorship with Airbus Defence & Space will contribute to the design selection at system level for the satellites and will be more particularly in charge of the payloads and associated systems.
The satellite will enable in-flight qualification of advanced technologies developed by Thales Alenia Space on behalf of R&D efforts funded by DGA (Délégation Générale pour l’Armement), French ministry of Defense’s procurement agency, and CNES, such as the OTOS (Observation de la Terre Optique Super-Résolue) program from the French space agency.
“This new program will ensure to maintain the excellence of the French industry of space optical observation by reinforcing the national team to prepare for future remote sensing programs, both dual and defense-oriented at national level or for export,” said Jean-Loïc Galle, CEO of Thales Alenia Space.
Thales Alenia Space's expertise in Europe includes its contributions to high-resolution optical remote sensing programs such as Helios-1 and -2, Pleiades and CSO in France, as well as several export programs like Falcon Eye in the United Arab Emirates or Göktürk-1 in Turkey.