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ESSAIM demonstrator: in-orbit experimental phase extended


* The DGA informed Astrium and Thales of an 18-month extension to the support contract for the ESSAIM demonstrator
* ESSAIM: a technical and operational experiment

The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) has awarded a support contract of 1.5 million euros to joint prime contractors Astrium and Thales, which will extend the operational life of the ESSAIM demonstrator by 18 months.

Put into orbit in December 2004, the aim of ESSAIM is to analyse and map the electromagnetic environment of the earth’s surface from space.

The DGA is defining and implementing the experimental phase, in which the French armed forces are also involved, and utilising the demonstrator’s data.

After 44 months in orbit, the four micro-satellites are continuing to operate normally even though they were initially envisaged to operate for just three years.

The results-to-date have increased interest in developing space-based technology in the field of electromagnetic intelligence (ROEM – Renseignement d’Origine ElectroMagnétique).

Feedback from the ESSAIM system is providing useful information for the creation of ELISA, the next ROEM spatial demonstrator, which will be produced by the same industrial consortium - its launch scheduled for 2010. These two pre-project studies by DGA are forerunners to the creation of a satellite system of spatial electromagnetic intelligence ability (CERES – Capacité de Renseignement Electromagnétique Spatial), predicted by the White book on defence and national security to come about by the middle of the next decade.

Astrium, as one of the programme’s joint prime contractors and representative of the consortium, has been given overall control of the system. Astrium is also responsible for maintaining the space systems and the associated ground control systems, in tandem with the operational teams from the French Space Agency (CNES).

The other joint prime contractor, Thales, is responsible for mission programming and operations, as well as maintaining the ground user systems.

About Astrium

Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2007, Astrium had a turnover of €3.5 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment and its wholly owned subsidiary Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2007, EADS generated revenues of €39.1 billion and employed a workforce of more than 116,000.


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