The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


"All systems go" for the Helios IIB satellite built by Astrium

* Satellite now operational in all image acquisition modes
* Upgraded ground stations delivered to partner countries by Astrium
* Three Helios observation satellites now in orbit

Toulouse, 27 April 2010

The in-flight acceptance of the Helios IIB satellite has been successfully completed by Astrium on behalf of the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) and under delegation from the French space agency, CNES. Helios IIB will now enter its operational phase serving the partner countries France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece and Germany. CNES will be responsible for in orbit operations.

The first images provided by the satellite were already being presented to military officials just a few days after the launch on 18 December 2009 – exactly five years after the launch of Helios IIA.

CNES, DGA and Astrium teams have spent three months checking that the satellite is in full working order. New software has also been installed to enable the Helios ground user segment to operate the three Helios satellites now in orbit. The results of the checks were all positive and the DGA has now declared that it’s "all systems go"!

In related news, Astrium has installed a Helios ground station in Gelsdorf that will enable users in Germany to obtain the same direct access to the system that the programme's four original partner countries enjoy. Astrium is also working on a sixth station in Greece, which will be fully operational in the upcoming months.

Since development work first began on Helios I over 20 years ago, Astrium has been prime contractor for both space (satellites) and ground user segments for military space observation systems serving the French military. Only the United States can rival the performance and operational levels of its European counterpart.

About Astrium

Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2009, Astrium had a turnover of €4.8 billion and more than 15,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment and Astrium Services for the development and provision of secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, geo-information products and services, and navigation services.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, EADS generated revenues of €42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119, 000.

Contacts for the media
Matthieu Duvelleroy
EADS Astrium (FR)
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Daniel Mosely
EADS Astrium (UK)
Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 8180

Ralph Heinrich
EADS Astrium (GER)
Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971

Francisco Lechón
EADS Astrium (ESP)
Tel.: +34 (0) 91 586 37 41

Join the mailing list