CERES (satellite)


CERES (satellite).jpg
CERES satellite
Mission typeSIGINT
OperatorCNES / DGA
COSPAR ID2021-105A
SATCAT no.49464
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerThales Alenia Space (bus),
Airbus Defence and Space (payload)
Launch mass516 kg (1,138 lb) (each)
Start of mission
Launch date16 November 2021, 09:27:55 UTC[1]
RocketVega VV20
Launch siteCentre Spatial Guyanais,
Kourou, ELA-1
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeSemi-synchronous orbit
Perigee altitude669 km (416 mi)
Apogee altitude672 km (418 mi)
Period90.00 minutes

CERES (CapacitÉ de Renseignement Électromagnétique Spatiale) is a space-based electronic signals intelligence (SIGINT) program by France's military consisting of three formation-flying satellites.


France has sent several signals intelligence demonstration missions into orbit. The most recent ones, the Essaim and Elisa, consisted in formation-flying spacecraft able to triangulate the location of radar and communication emitters, using the same principle as Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS) constellation.[2] These pathfinder programs are to be replaced by an operational mission called CERES (CapacitÉ de Renseignement Électromagnétique Spatiale), which uses 3 formation-flying satellites to locate and characterize electromagnetic emitters.[3] The satellites was launched on 16 November 2021, at 09:27:55 UTC, onboard of the Vega flight VV20.[1]

Airbus Defence and Space is responsible of the end-to-end system integration and the space segment comprising the three satellites, while Thales is responsible for full mission chain and its performance, going from on board payload to user ground segment.[4] In addition, "Thales Alenia Space acted as a subcontractor to Airbus in supplying the satellites" platforms.

The program cost is estimated at €450 million.[5][6]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Arianespace will launch three CERES Earth observation satellites for French defense and security applications on board Vega". Arianespace. 9 November 2021. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  2. ^ "CERES". CNES. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  3. ^ (in French)[1] DGA press release
  4. ^ "Thales Alenia Space Seeks Wider Market for Iridium Bus". SpaceNews. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  5. ^ "Le CNES démarre CERES et SWOT" (in French). AIR & COSMOS. 31 March 2014. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  6. ^ "Airbus, Thales Win €450M Contract to Build French SIGINT Satellites". defence-aerospace.com. Retrieved 3 February 2016.