Sometimes, even when you’re No. 1, it pays to follow another’s lead. A case in point is the French Government’s recent announcement to develop bodyguard spacecraft to protect its satellites against Russian and Chinese robotic spacecraft capable of rendezvous and proximity operations.
European launch provider Arianespace completed its final launch of the year Dec. 19, sending the French spy satellite CSO-1 into orbit on a Soyuz ST-A rocket.
Spacecraft manufacturers have complained of stress on their supplier base as operators purchase fewer traditional geostationary satellites. One company in France is bucking that trend, however.
The French space agency CNES has agreed to allocate an additional 10 million euros ($11.7 million) to further the economic and social development of French Guiana, the South American territory home to Europe’s spaceport.
An internal research and development program using widely available telescopes has evolved into a space situational awareness business for ArianeGroup.
The French space agency, CNES, on Feb. 5 concluded its annual internal seminar on international outreach, a meeting that is as much an order of battle on behalf of France’s space industry as a review of future bilateral space-research partnerships.
French President Francois Hollande’s affirmation that intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance would be top priorities after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris comes at a time when France’s already-stressed defense budget is committed to major capital spending on three space programs.
The French government, determined that its industry not lose out on what might be a large new business in building low-orbiting satellite communications constellations, has issued a request for bids to industry for ideas on new components and manufacturing techniques.
After three years of near-obsessive focus on launch vehicles leading to the next-generation Ariane 6 rocket, France turns its attention to satellites.
The head of Europe’s Arianespace launch consortium on May 12 said the company can beat competitor SpaceX in the open market with a euro/dollar exchange rate at today’s levels and the planned 5-6 percent reduction in Ariane 5 rocket production and launch costs.
CNES awarded Airbus Defence and Space a contract worth 30 million euros to build the spacecraft platform and perform payload integration for the French-German Merlin methane-monitoring satellite.