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France bets on space surveillance

Contract between the Ministry of Defense and Ariane Group

French Ministère des Armées Florence Parly signed a contract with Ariane Group today, to secure a technological space surveillance service, a form of defense for detecting in-orbit threats and ensuring the protection of military satellites. 

"The optical space surveillance service is based on the Geotracker system. Thanks to this we will be able to 'see' everything that happens in geostationary orbit, to protect our military space assets. This is a sovereignty issue and a priority of our defense space strategy, which recognizes that space has become a potential confrontation environment. As of 2019, space has also been recognized by NATO as the fifth area of confrontation, along with land, sea, air, and cyberspace. In this context, the space surveillance capability that France is acquiring is absolutely strategic", said the head of the Commandement de l'Espace (Cde), General Michel Friedling, in an interview with the French newspaper "Le Figaro". 

Ariane's executive chairman, André-Hubert Roussel, added: "We have built an optical surveillance network based on the deployment of nine telescopes in six friendly countries, providing permanent 360-degree coverage of the Geo arc. By 2025, this network will have 30 stations worldwide, making it the first private European infrastructure with several thousand objects in its catalog". "Our challenge is to ensure that the military can detect all objects in all orbits and anomalous trajectories. Our assets will soon be able to detect objects smaller than 10 cm in a space that is becoming increasingly cluttered, particularly by debris. A service already of interest to private customers and allied armed forces".

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency