Status Report

France in Space #250

By SpaceRef Editor
November 4, 2003
Filed under , , ,


Along with the CNES re-organization, its president, Yannick d’Escatha, is
considering closing the gap between the MOD and the agency. Mr. d’Escatha
wishes to grant the MOD the ability to provide inputs early in the
development of projects and research and technology (R&T). He believes that
this will lead to better choices and help better define priorities. A
working group, composed in part by General Lorenzi, the counselor for
defense and Mr. d’Escatha himself, has been created to discuss the new
structure. An agreement is expected by the end of the year. [La Tribune


Following an international competition, EADS Astrium in partnership with
Alcatel has been selected to build two Arabsat telecommunications satellites
(Eurostar E2000+). The two satellites, planned to enter service in 2006,
will optimise capacity for direct TV broadcasting, telephony and data
transmissions over a coverage zone encompassing North Africa, the Middle
East and part of Western Europe. Even before the contract to build two
Pleiades Earth observation satellites for the French Space Agency (CNES) at
the beginning of October, EADS Astrium had already signed up to manufacture
the HotBird-8 telecommunications satellite for Eutelsat. The European Space
Agency (ESA) also signed a contract with EADS Astrium as prime contractor to
build its Aeolus satellite. Aeolus, a 300-million-dollar mission based on
the Mars/Venus Express platform design will provide global observations of
the wind across the Earth’s surface with a vertical resolution to be used in
both climate research and operational forecasting. The satellite, based,
with a launch mass of about 1.5 tons and an expected lifetime of 3 years, is
scheduled for launch in October 2007. Finally, Alcatel Space has delivered
the payload for the AM22 satellite to Russian company NPO-PM, prime
contractor for the Express AM satellites. The Express satellites, scheduled
to launch in early 2004, will offer communication services to Western
Europe, Russia, the Middle East and the Far East. [Alcatel 10/08-21/2003,
EADS Astrium 21/10/2003]


SPOT Image recently signed a Channel Partnership contract with Inta
SpaceTurk, granting them the exclusive rights to distribute SPOT 5 satellite
image products and services within Turkey, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan,
Georgia, Ukraine, Syria and Lebanon. Inta SpaceTurk is a regional leader for
Earth observation technologies, and also operates a receiving station and
distribution service for the products of the Ikonos satellite. “Inta
SpaceTurk … shares the same strategic vision of the market. This agreement
opens promising growth prospects for us in a region of the world where the
value of geospatial technologies for planning and management is immense,”
explains Jean-Marc Nasr, Chairman and CEO of SPOT Image, S.A. [Spot


The Galileo Joint Undertaking, based in Brussels and established by the
European Commission and the European Space Agency, is officially issuing a
first invitation to tender for the Galileo Concession. It will then be able
to shortlist undertakings or consortia bidding to become the
Concession-holder for Galileo’s deployment phase and subsequent operations
phase. Bidders will be evaluated on the basis of their technical and
financial credentials and their ability to put forward a coherent business
plan, notably for the delivery of the future Galileo system services. The
Joint Undertaking, drawing on a statement of work, will then start up
negotiations with those shortlisted with a view to eventually awarding the
Concession Contract and selecting the future Galileo Operating Company, the
private concern due to take charge under the operations phase. In the short
term, under the development and validation phase, ESA is responsible for the
end-2005 launch of a first experimental satellite designed to test the new
technologies in orbit. About Galileo international cooperation, the Canadian
Space Agency (CSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) recently signed and
agreement for Canada’s participation in the Development and Validation Phase
of the Galileo Program. The CSA’s $11 million contribution allows Canadian
companies to respond to requests for proposals and to take an active part in
the program. [Satnews 8/10/2003, European Space Agency 17/10/2003]


EADS SPACE Transportation and IDEAMECH have signed a co-operation agreement
for the development of inflatable, ultra-light orbital equipment. IDEAMECH,
a company based in Toulouse, has a unique expertise for the structural
modeling and analysis of ultra-light deployable structures, also called
“Gossamer”. These structures, which are made of inflatable and membrane
structures, will allow important mass, volume and costs savings and the
launch into orbit of larger satellites and space systems. ” Gossamer ”
concepts are now getting more and more interest by space structures
specialists mainly because of recent materials developments (composites and
polymer films). The two companies who currently work on new generation solar
arrays with the support of the European Space Agency (ESA) are planning on
validating their developments with a space flight demonstrator in 2006.
[IdeaMech 10/2003]

** 6: IN BRIEF

The demonstration flight of the enhanced version of Europe’s Ariane 5 rocket
may slip by several months, potentially to mid-2004. With such delay, the
rocket will most likely carry a commercial telecommunications satellite
instead of a pure dummy payload, according to industry officials.
[Arianespace 10/06/2003] France has approved full-scale development of the
Pleiades sub-1 meter imaging constellation, part of the planned Orfeo joint
optical-radar surveillance system to be deployed in cooperation with Italy.
The French Space Agency, CNES, selected Astrium as prime contractor of the
Pleiades system which will offer 0.70-meter panchromatic spatial resolution
over a 20-km swath The final price tag will be 314 M€ – far less than the
550 M€ initially budgeted. [Aviation Week & Space Technology 10/27/2003] ESA
member states have agreed to a 9-million-euro budget line to continue
operating the Artemis technology satellite through April 2006. ESA is still
seeking a 2.4-million-euro commercial deal to operate the L-Band payload on
Artemis once an existing contract with Telespazio expires at year’s end.
[Aviation Week & Space Technology 27/10/2003]

[From Alcatel, Arianespace, Aviation Week & Space Technology, EADS Astrium,
ESA, IdeaMech, Satnews, Spot, La Tribune]

France In Space is a weekly synthesis of French space activities based on
French press. Its content does not reflect an official position of the
French Government or CNES. It is provided by the CNES office and the Office
of Science and Technology of the French Embassy in Washington D.C
Editors: Vincent Sabathier, Thibaut Girard, Valery Tessier-Leon

France In Space is available online at
you will find there the current issue, the subscription and un-subscription
forms, as well as the archives with a search engine.

About CNES

“CNES develops and leads national space programmes. The main thrust of its
action is to serve France’s ambition to sustain a strong space capability
and contribute to scientific discovery at the highest levels. CNES is
committed to fostering innovative space technologies that meet the current
and future needs of society. Most programmes are pursued in cooperation with
international partners. CNES also plays a central role in programmes
initiated by ESA, the European Space Agency, to which it is a major
contributor. It is thus a driving force behind ESA programmes and

SpaceRef staff editor.