|Operator||CNES / DGA|
|Manufacturer||Thales Alenia Space (bus),|
Airbus Defence and Space (payload)
|Launch mass||516 kg (1,138 lb) (each)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||16 November 2021, 09:27:55 UTC|
|Launch site||Centre Spatial Guyanais,|
|Reference system||Geocentric orbit|
|Perigee altitude||669 km (416 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||672 km (418 mi)|
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. 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. The satellites was launched on 16 November 2021, at 09:27:55 UTC, onboard of the Vega flight VV20.
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. In addition, "Thales Alenia Space acted as a subcontractor to Airbus in supplying the satellites" platforms.