Status Report

France in Space #259

By SpaceRef Editor
March 19, 2004
Filed under , , ,


The CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infra-Red Pathfinder Satellite
Observations) satellite is a collaborative effort between CNES (French Space
Agency) and NASA. It will take measurements of the vertical distribution of
the clouds and the aerosols to provide a better understanding of the climate
system and global climate forecasting. NASA is responsible for the overall
mission and system as well as the facilities for operations. It provides the
payload and the launch as well. One of the 3 instruments within the payload
is a 3-channel thermal imager developed by CNES. CNES is responsible for the
satellite, navigation and guidance tools and the facility to process data
from the thermal imager. CNES also provides a PROTEUS microsat bus. The
payload arrived at Alcatel Space in Cannes, France, last month where it is
being integrated to the bus and will than go through integration and
qualification tests. Ground facilities are almost ready. Testing of the
entire system and preparation of the operations should start at the end of
April. CALIPSO is set to launch in March 2005. CALIPSO will be teamed with
the American missions AQUA and CLOUDSAT, and the French micro satellite
PARASOL. Orbiting at an altitude of 705 km, the group of 4 satellites will
be nicknamed “Aqua-train”. AQUA was placed in orbit in April 2002. PARASOL
is set to launch at the end of 2004 and CALIPSO and CLOUDSAT beginning 2005.
[CNES 03/11/2004]


While the Mars Express mission launched by Starsem last June 2 is
successfully on its way, Starsem and Arianespace announced the signing with
the European Space Agency (ESA) of the GSTB contract (Galileo System Test
Bed) for the launches of two experimental Galileo satellites by two Soyuz
launch vehicles. The first of the two experimental spacecraft built by the
British company Surrey Space Technology Ltd will be launched from the
Baikonur cosmodrome by the end of 2005. This will mark the first step in the
in-orbit validation of the Galileo system, in particular ensuring the
frequencies allocated to this European satellite navigation program by the
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) before a 2006 deadline. The
contract reflects the complementary capabilities of Soyuz and Ariane 5 in
meeting the strategic challenges of European space policy, as exemplified by
the Galileo program. The decision by ESA’s Council on February 4 to install
a Soyuz launch pad at the Guiana Space Center further confirms the synergies
between the Ariane 5 and Soyuz launch systems. Starsem is the
European-Russian joint venture that markets the Soyuz to commercial
customers. The European satellite navigation system Galileo will become
operational in 2008 and will be made up of 30 craft (27 basic and 3
stand-by), sitting in the orbits 23,616 kilometers high, as well as two
ground-based control centres. The European navigation system Galileo will be
complementary of the American GPS system, which has in recent years become
widespread among military and civilian users in many countries. Controlled
by the Pentagon, the GPS determines coordinates at a 20-meter precision.
Initially, the United States was critical about the Galileo system but
recently, the European Union and the United States have agreed upon the
joint use of radio communication frequency channels. [
03/04/2004, ESA 03/10/2004]


Europe’s largest aerospace company, swung to a larger-than-expected net
profit in 2003 as a strong fourth quarter at its Airbus plane-making unit
and a drop in charges offset losses in its space division. EADS, which makes
commercial jets, missiles and fighter aircraft, also cheered investors by
announcing a 10 cent increase in its 2003 net dividend to 40 euro cents per
share. In its fourth set of annual results since it was formed in 2000 from
a merger of France, Germany and Spain’s largest aerospace firms, EADS posted
a net profit of 152 million euros ($185.4 million), up from a loss of 299
million in 2002, when results were penalized by 936 million euros in
goodwill charges. In 2003, EADS also began to see the benefits from a ramp
up of missile and fighter programs. Operating profit in its defense division
surged 40 percent to 171 million euros. These gains offset a 400
million-euro operating loss in its space division. The space division of the
European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) recorded a sharp loss
in 2003, but saw its prospects for the future improve. EADS Space reported a
loss of 400 million euros in 2003 compared to 268 million euros in 2002.
However, nearly three-quarters of the loss, 288 million euros, came from a
planned restructuring charge the company took in 2003, leading EADS to
conclude that the operational performance of the division improved in 2003.
The space division recorded revenues of 2.424 billion euros in 2003,
compared to 2.216 billion euros in 2002, although in 2003 EADS owned 100
percent of satellite manufacturer Astrium, compared to 75 percent in 2002.
The division would have actually had revenues of 2.617 billion euros in 2002
had it owned 100 percent of Astrium then. EADS has been slashing jobs and
restructuring the division and has said it expects it to break even at the
operating level this year. [Reuters, EADS, 03/08/2004]


Rosetta’s scientific goals always included the possibility of studying one
or more asteroids from close range. However, only after Rosetta’s launch and
its insertion into interplanetary orbit could the ESA mission managers
assess how much fuel was actually available for fly-bys. The selection of
these two excellent targets was made possible by the high accuracy with
which the Ariane 5 delivered the spacecraft into its orbit. This of course
leaves sufficient fuel for the core part of the mission, orbiting Comet
67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for 17 months when Rosetta reaches its target in
2014. The targets selected for Rosetta, Steins and Lutetia, have rather
different properties. Steins is relatively small, with a diameter of a few
kilometres, and will be visited by Rosetta on 5 September 2008 at a distance
of just over 1700 kilometres. This encounter will take place at a relatively
low speed of about 9 kilometres per second during Rosetta’s first excursion
into the asteroid belt. Lutetia is a much bigger object, about 100
kilometres in diameter. Rosetta will pass within about 3000 kilometres on 10
July 2010 at a speed of 15 kilometres per second. This will be during
Rosetta’s second passage through the asteroid belt. Rosetta will obtain
spectacular images as it flies by these primordial rocks. Its onboard
instruments will provide information on the mass and density of the
asteroids, thus telling us more about their composition, and will also
measure their subsurface temperature and look for gas and dust around them.
Rosetta began its journey just over a week ago, on 2 March, and is well on
its way. Commissioning of its instruments has already started and is
proceeding according to plan. [ESA 03/11/2004]


Designed and built by EADS Astrium for EUTELSAT, the W3A spacecraft, the
first of the Eurostar E3000 series, is scheduled for launch on a PROTON
launch vehicle from Baikonur on 16 March 2004 at 04:07 (00:07 CET time).
When in orbit, it will provide a full range of services in Ku and Ka-bands,
to include business communications and Internet and television transmission
over a large area covering Europe and Africa, from its 7? degree East orbit
location. EADS Astrium, as prime contractor for W3A, supplied both the
payload and platform and integrated and tested the spacecraft. Most of EADS
Astrium’s facilities around Europe participated in the manufacturing
process. The solar arrays and repeater equipment came from Germany,
communications payload, antennas and structure came from the UK, electrical
harness from Spain and the avionics and final integra-tion and test were
completed in France. The satellite carries 50 operational Ku- and Ka-band
transponders with on-board digital multiplexing for up to 6 channels. The
spacecraft has a launch mass of 4,250 kg, a solar array span of 35 metres
once deployed in orbit, and a spacecraft power of 9.6 kW at end of life. The
satellite, operating in geostationary orbit, will provide commercial
services for a minimum of 15 years. EADS Astrium is Europe’s leading
satellite system specialist and wholly owned subsidiary of EADS SPACE, which
is dedicated to providing civil and defense space systems. EADS Astrium was
also responsible for construction of Eutelsat’s first generation of
satellites, the ECS/EUTELSAT I series, as well as Telecom 2D, Telecom 2A and
DFS Copernicus 2 on which it has commercialised capacity. The company also
pro-vided the payloads for HOT BIRD 1 and the five EUTELSAT II spacecraft.
[ESA 03/09/2004, EADS Astrium 03/12/2004]

** 6: IN BRIEF

The Smart 1 spacecraft is now in its 233rd orbit, in good status and with
all functions performing nominally. Starting on 24 February 2004 operation
of the electric propulsion drive was resumed. The engine is turned on every
orbit around perigee for about 1.5 hours. [ESA 03/05/2004]
The prototype of a future space transport system Phoenix proved its ability
to detect and automatically correct track deviations on the ground. The
braking system also underwent extensive testing. With PHOENIX, EADS SPACE
Transportation wants to prove the feasibility of a re-usable space transport
system. The prototype is just under seven metres long, has a weight of 1,200
kilograms and a wingspan of 3.9 metres. The next step will be the
flight-testing of PHOENIX in Vidsel in Northern Sweden in May 2004. A
heavy-duty helicopter will carry PHOENIX to an altitude of 2,400 metres.
Then, the vehicle will be released to perform an automatic landing. [EADS
Space 03/05/2004]

[From CNES, EADS Astrium, EADS Space, ESA, Reuters,]


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
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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

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