The new system will be a successor to the Pleiades satellites in the next decade.
Pleiades comprises two optical Earth-imaging satellites that provide images for defence purposes, as well as civilian purposes with a repeat cycle of 26 days.
“This new programme will ensure to maintain the excellence of the French industry of space optical observation.”
Beginning in the second half of 2016, the partners will identify an optimal design for the new system, and select appropriate technologies to be applied.
Under a co-contractorship with Airbus Defence & Space, Thales will oversee design selection for the satellites, as well as the payloads and associated systems.
Thales Alenia Space CEO Jean-Loïc Galle said: “This new programme will ensure to maintain the excellence of the French industry of space optical observation by reinforcing the national team to prepare for future remote sensing programmes, both dual and defence-orientated at national level or for export.”
The satellite will adapt advanced technologies, including Observation de la Terre Optique Super-Résolue (OTOS).
Developed by Thales Alenia Space, OTOS is backed by French Ministry of Defense’s procurement agency and CNES.
In Europe, Thales has so far supported optical remote sensing programmes such as Helios-1 and -2, Pleiades and CSO in France, Falcon Eye in the UAE, and Göktürk-1 in Turkey.