CNES is gearing up for a special launch in December. Ariane 5 will be lofting 6 satellites into orbit at once - a first for Europe's launcher. Among the passengers will be the Helios IIA satellite, designed to give the Helios military surveillance system enhanced resolution and data access capability.
Helios IIA satellite is scheduled to join its 2 predecessors, Helios IA and IB, in orbit. Helios II, which also comprises 2 satellites, is a second-generation military surveillance programme developed by France in partnership with Spain and Belgium.
Helios II will operate in the visible and infrared portions of the spectrum to deliver imagery to the French military day and night.
France has also an agreement to exchange some of Helios II's optical data for future radar data now under development in Germany and Italy, thus affording it an all-weather imaging capability.
Enhancements provided by Helios II include significantly improved resolution, more imaging capacity and faster access to imagery. The new system, which will also support targeting, guidance, mission planning and battle damage assessment, has been designed to accommodate future upgrades, including new users and new sensors.
Helios IIA will be launched along with the Essaim demonstrator comprising 4 microsatellites developed by the French defense procurement agency (DGA).
The aim of this demonstrator is to lay the groundwork for a future space-based electronic intelligence (ELINT) programme. Finally, the last passenger on board Ariane flight 165 will be CNES's Parasol microsatellite, dedicated to observing clouds and aerosols.
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Japan Plans To Develop Advanced Spy Satellite
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Sep 27, 2004
The Japanese government plans to develop an advanced spy satellite for launch in 2010. Government sources say the satellite will be able to distinguish objects on Earth as small as 50 centimeters.
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