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ArianeGroup Consortium to Lead French Space Situational Awareness Project 

By Rachel Jewett | April 24, 2023
CNES Toulouse France

CNES’ Toulouse, France facility. Photo: CNES

France is investing in a program to improve space situational awareness (SSA) capabilities, with French space agency CNES selecting a consortium led by ArianeGroup for a contract. Eutelsat and Magellium will join ArianeGroup on the project. 

According to the Monday announcement, ArianeGroup will provide space surveillance service from its network of ground telescopes, and Eutelsat will operate a new space sensor to connect to the system. The goal is to improve the catalog and tracking of objects in orbit. The project is part of the France 2030 national investment plan, and the ArianeGroup consortium was selected out of five short-listed contenders. 

It will use ArianeGroup’s existing surveillance network of 15 ground-based telescopes which provides surveillance, tracking and collision warnings for satellites. Eutelsat is partnering with Sodern to build the on-board sensor, which will add to the ground-based network capabilities. In addition, Magellium will develop image processing capabilities. 

Eutelsat commented that it wants to position itself as a leading space surveillance operator, and a player in French national defense strategy with this contract. 

“Eutelsat intends to play its part in the global effort to monitor space and understand its environment by leveraging its multi-orbit, multi-mission infrastructure while joining forces with a leading player in space surveillance,” commented Serge Cholley, director of Security and Defence at Eutelsat.