The Helios 2 system, which consists of the Helios 2A and Helios 2B, is a French-developed military Earth observation satellite program.[1] Financed at 90% by France, the development also involved minor participation from Belgium, Spain, Italy and Greece.[2] Helios 2A was launched on 18 December 2004 by an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana.[3]

Helios 2B was launched five years later, on 18 December 2009, carried also by an Ariane 5. The two satellites are identical.[4] They carry a Thales-built high-resolution visible and thermal infrared instrument with 35 cm resolution,[5] and an Airbus-built medium-resolution instrument.[6] The Helios 2 satellite bus is nearly identical to the platform built by EADS Astrium for the Spot 5 civil-commercial optical observation satellite.[7]

The Helios 2 will be replaced by the Composante Spatiale Optique (CSO), a new French program of three military observation satellites. The first satellite (CSO-1) was launched on 15 December 2018, the second (CSO-2) on 29 December 2020, with the final launch (CSO-3) being scheduled for 2022.[8]

See also

References

  1. ^ "HELIOS II, A New Generation of Military Satellites". CNES. October 14, 2004. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
  2. ^ ESPI Report 72 -: Europe, Space and Defence - Full Report (PDF) (Report). European Space Policy Institute. February 2020. p. 22. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
  3. ^ "Helios 2A, Launch Successful". Via Satellite. December 20, 2004. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
  4. ^ "Cnes : Helios". Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2004-12-20.
  5. ^ de Selding, Peter B. (January 4, 2010). "French Helios 2B Spy Sat Sends Back First Test Images". Space News. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
  6. ^ "HELIOS". CNES. March 5, 2019. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
  7. ^ de SELDING, Peter B. (June 29, 2004). "France's Helios 2A Recon Satellite Produces First Images". Space News. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
  8. ^ "CSO-2 Satellite in Orbit". Thales Group. 29 December 2020. Retrieved December 4, 2022.