PARIS — CLS of France will install and service an X-band satellite Earth station on France’s Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean to receive imagery from Canadian and European radar and optical Earth observation satellites under a $9.2 million contract with the Reunion regional government, CLS announced.

Under the contract, Toulouse-based CLS, an affiliate of the French space agency, CNES, and operator of the global Argos satellite-based tracking system, will install an Earth station compatible with Canada’s Radarsat-2 and Europe’s Envisat radar satellites, as well as the French Spot 4 and Spot 5 optical spacecraft, CLS’s Olivier Germain said May 10.

The ground station is expected to be operational in March 2011, Germain said. The three-year contract, which includes the purchase of a certain quantity of Radarsat-2 imagery, likely will be extended to include high-resolution optical images from France’s two Pleiades satellites, scheduled for launch in 2011 to succeed Spot 5.

In addition, he said, regional authorities hope to adapt the station to collect imagery from Europe’s future Sentinel series of Earth observation satellites, being financed by the European Commission and the European Space Agency as part of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security program.

The Reunion Island station will cover an area with a radius of 2,500 kilometers, or 12.6 million square kilometers of the Indian Ocean region, including parts of Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, in addition to mid-ocean coverage.


Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.