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Contract award for CO3D Earth Observation satellites
Airbus Defence and Space will design and provide 4 satellites of the future CO3D constellation. © Airbus

Contract award for CO3D Earth Observation satellites

Finalist against Thales Alenia Space, Airbus Defence and Space was awarded the contract for the development of the new French optical reconnaissance program for a dual utilisation.

The news was formalized on July 8th: The CNES entrusted Airbus Defence and Space to design and provide 4 satellites of the future CO3D constellation (Constellation Optique en 3D), which should deliver 50 cm resolution stereo imagery across the world on a daily basis, for both civil mapping (through the CNES) and military’s needs (via the Direction Générale de l’Armement).

Each satellite will be identical and weigh 300 kg, and will be based on the adapted electrical platform Astrobus Se.

A unequalized revisit capacity.

Expected to be launched at the end of 2022, the CO3D mission will succeed the satellites duo Pléiades 1A and 1B, also developed by Airbus and respectively entered into service on December 2011 and December 2012. It will offer an unrivaled refresh rates for very high-resolution imagery.

In the frame of the CO3D market, Airbus will also provide a global high-resolution Digital Surface Model (DSM). The data acquired will feed a cloud-based processing chain operated by Airbus and integrating CNES’ algorithms to produce a cutting-edge 3D map of the Earth’s landmass.

French excellence.

During the signature event, Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES, declared: “The new generation optical satellite constellation CO3D embodies French ambition and ingenuity and opens a new era for Earth observation. It will allow a higher refresh rate, improved performance and better resilience. This partnership between CNES and Airbus perfectly illustrates French excellence in Earth observation from space.”

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