Ground stations for the Musis spy satellite are expected to enter service in 2017. (French Ministry of Defense)
PARIS — France has awarded a contract worth up to a total of €300 million (US $406.7 million) to Airbus Defence and Space division to build and maintain the ground stations for the Musis military spy satellite, the Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office said Jan. 23.
“The Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) signed a contract at the end of 2013 with Airbus Defence and Space, formerly Astrium, for the manufacturing contract for the user ground segment for the future French military observation satellite Musis [Multinational Space-based Imaging System for surveillance, reconnaissance and observation],” the DGA said in a statement.
The deal was signed at the end of December, a DGA spokesman said.
“This award, of a maximum amount of some €300 million, includes maintenance of the user ground segment for 12 years,” the DGA said.
Taking up options and the delivery schedule will determine the final amount of the deal.
The ground stations will allow crews to send programming commands to the Musis satellites and receive, generate, distribute and store images, Airbus Defence and Space said.
The stations “also enable the French armed forces to access all the existing and future satellite observation sensors,” the Airbus division said.
The ground system will enter service in 2017 when the first Musis satellite is due to be put into orbit, the company said.
France awarded contracts in 2010 to build the first two satellites to an industrial team led by Airbus Defence and Space, in a partnership with Thales Alenia Space.
The suppliers in the team include specialists Capgemini, Communication & Systèmes, and Magellium.
Musis will replace the present Helios 2 optical spy satellite from 2017. ■