Pléiades: SPACEBEL Again Reaches for the Stars

Success again! SPACEBEL has won a further series of major contracts in the frame of the Pléiades programme. The total turnover of these new developments represents about 3,5 million Euros.

SPACEBEL started to work on the Pléiades project in 2004. This first contract related to the design of the satellite’s on-board software, intended for the control of both the platform and its scientific payloads, will allow the Belgian company to realize a turnover of 2 million Euros.

One year later with this latest award, SPACEBEL has been chosen to take part in the development of the ground segment of the Pléiades mission centre, which will centralize all requests for image acquisition, receive and manage the instrument data and provide this data to the scientists. SPACEBEL will be specifically in charge of the realization of two subsystems of the programming chain: SPACEBEL will contribute to both the payload management and to the stations management.
SPACEBEL will also be involved in the implementation of the simulation software, which will simulate the various functions of the on-board software and test their good functioning before their departure into Space. Moreover, the company will intervene at mission operations definition level.

Based upon two photograph satellites, the Pléiades programme is part of the Earth Observation policy of the French Space Agency CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales). Weighing 1000 kg, they are planned for an operational lifetime of 5 years. The system is dual: it will satisfy the needs of both civil and military users. The first optical satellite will be launched from the Guyanese Space Center at the end of 2011, followed by the second one late 2012. Both spacecraft will scrutinize our planet in order to gather images and thus information useful for agriculture, territory planning, natural disaster management … They will also provide data on population movements as well as on the topography of conflict areas. By their size, their image resolution, their high agility in orbit and their capacity of retransmission to the ground, the Pléiades satellites represent a significant technological progress to which SPACEBEL is proud to bring its contribution.

By designing and implementing several of the contributing software developments, SPACEBEL definitely plays a crucial role in the fruition of this renowned programme!

Published September 12th, 2005