ARIANESPACE September 10 announced the launch services contract signature with CNES for the CSO-3 satellite, which will be launched aboard the future Ariane 6 launch vehicle – in its A62 version – from the Guiana Space Center. This option already was included in the previously-signed launch contract for the CSO-1 and CSO-2 satellites on missions using the Soyuz launcher.
The CSO (Composante Spatiale Optique) is a very-high-resolution satellite system comprising several new-generation optical detection satellites. It is a follow-on to the current Helios II system, and will ensure the continuity of French intelligence based on very-high-definition images, while also improving detection capabilities.
The CSO system is being developed within the scope of MUSIS (Multinational Space-based Imaging System), a program conducted by the DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement), which chose CNES as contracting authority to procure the satellites and launch services.
CNES also is prime contractor for the mission control and programming center, along with the satellites’ orbital positioning and routine operations, while the DGA is in charge of supplying the ground segment. CNES and the DGA are working as an integrated team in overseeing system integration.
CNES chose Airbus Defence and Space to build the satellites, with Thales Alenia Space producing the optical imaging instruments.
Following the contract signature, Stéphane Israël, Arianespace Chief Executive Officer said: “ We are very honored that the DGA and CNES have entrusted us with the launch of CSO-3 using our future Ariane 6 launcher. This latest institutional mission – the first for which France has chosen Ariane 6 – marks a further step forward in the confirmation of this new launcher for European institutional users.”