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Pleiades Earth-observation satellites: central role for Thales in ground segment information system

21 October 2005

The Pleiades programme is led by France, with contributions from Belgium, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and other European nations. The two optical satellites will perform both civil and military missions and will feature increased agility, enabling rapid changes of viewing direction. They will also offer a resolution four times better than SPOT 5 - 70 centimetres compared with 2.5 metres.

After a Europe-wide competition, CNES has selected Thales to develop and produce three key components of the Pleiades system:

* the image ground segment
* the image processing chains
* ground-based encryption and decryption equipment.

The contract for these three components is worth 16 million euros.

The image ground segment will receive, store, process and distribute the images acquired by the two satellites (around 1,000 images per day). The Thales solution is designed for installation at civil and military processing centres in France and other countries. To guarantee performance and optimise total cost of ownership, the solution is based exclusively on open-source products.

The image processing chains perform radiometric and geometric corrections, resampling, fusion and orthorectification of images. These chains have complex algorithmic content and meet the programme's stringent requirements in terms of performance and digital quality.

The encryption and decryption equipment will guarantee data security for the ground segment. Building on its recognised security capabilities, Thales meets the full range of requirements put forward by CNES for these encryptors, designed for civil and military applications, for both French and international users.

This latest success confirms Thales' position as a major player in satellite systems. The Group's core capabilities in the space sector draw on recognised technological excellence and extensive experience in complex system design and prime contracting. Thales has worked in close partnership with the international space industry for almost 40 years and now offers a broad range of solutions and services for space programmes.

Thales' Services Division
With revenues of 1.4 billion euros (including 1.1 billion outside Thales) and 10,000 employees worldwide, Thales' Services Division provides a comprehensive range of services including consulting, integration solutions and outsourcing for public- and private-sector customers.

Thales e-Security
A major global player in network and payment security, Thales' e-Security business proposes high-level solutions to help businesses, banks and government administrations to protect their critical data and information. These security solutions cover communications, applications and terminals, as well as electronic and bank payments.

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