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Airbus-built Earth observation satellite launched

Louis Dillon

The first of the CSO (Composante spatiale optique) Earth observation satellites for the French Armed Forces has been launched from the Kourou European Spaceport in French Guiana.

Airbus-built Earth observation satellite launched
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CSO will provide high resolution geo-information intelligence to the French forces as well as its partners Germany, Belgium and Sweden. 

The satellites are equipped with an agile pointing system that is controlled by a ground control operations centre.

Airbus has provided the agile platform and avionics as prime contractor for the CSO satellites program, and was also responsible for integration work, testing and delivery of the satellites to CNES.


“Today, we are able and extremely proud to provide the most modern and efficient observation capability for the safety of our citizens and the sovereignty and independence of France and Europe. CSO is indeed a big step up in terms of resolution, complexity, safety of transmission, reliability and availability: only a couple of other nations can claim such a capability,” said Nicolas Chamussy, head of Airbus Space Systems.

“For decades, Airbus, as well as other industrial partners, has been developing new technologies, instruments, platforms, secured networks, to successfully provide Helios 1, Pleiades, and Helios 2 systems for the benefit of French and European sovereignty."

Thales Alenia Space provided Airbus with the high-resolution optical instrument for the CSO.

"Thanks to our enduring expertise and close partnership with the French MoD since the beginning of the French Space adventure, as well as the tremendous support across industry and partners, especially Thales Alenia Space, we did it!" Chamussy said.


The satellite can provide users with extremely high-quality images from the Thales Alenia Space instrument, even in the most complex schedules, due to its agility and stability.

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