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Sagem delivers first detectors for Eclairs telescope, primary instrument on the SVOM space observation satellite

Paris, November 10, 2010

Sagem (Safran group) has delivered the first prototype sensors to space research center CESR (1) for the Eclairs telescope, the main payload to be carried by the scientific satellite SVOM (Space-based multi-band Variable Object Monitor).

The satellite’s X-ray and gamma ray detection modules, developed and produced by Sagem’s Safran Electronics division in Valence, each comprise 32 cadmium telluride (CdTe) detectors and an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), based on high-temperature co-fired ceramic (HTCC) elements. The Eclairs telescope will group 200 of these subassemblies to form a detector with total sensing area of 1,000 square centimeters.

The SVOM mission is primarily designed to study gamma-ray bursts, the most violent events in the Universe – not counting the Big Bang of course. The celestial bodies created by gamma-ray bursts (the huge explosion of a massive star at the end of its life) offers huge potential for cosmological studies, in particular the possible detection of the first stars in the Universe, and a survey of the cosmos.

The Eclairs telescope is the primary mission instrument, and is being built under the auspices of French space agency CNES, in conjunction with the CESR lab and the French atomic energy commission CEA. The SVOM spacecraft will be launched in 2015 as part of a joint French-Chinese mission organized by the Chinese space agency, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and CNES.

The selection of Sagem and its Safran Electronics division for the SVOM program further consolidates their role as a leading supplier of integrated electronics for platforms operating in the harshest environments, including aircraft, launch vehicles and satellites. Sagem’s acknowledged expertise in this field was a decisive factor in its selection by CNES and CESR.

Sagem already supplies hybrid products and printed circuit boards for civilian satellites (ERS 1 and 2, Metop, Envisat, Spot), and contributes to the military satellites Helios, Pleiades and CSO Musis.

- 1 - CESR: Centre d’Etudes Spatiales des Rayonnements, the Radiation Space Research Center, a French astrophysics laboratory in Toulouse that reports to the University of Toulouse III and the French national scientific research agency CNRS.


Sagem, a high-tech company in the Safran group, holds world or European leadership positions in optronics, avionics, electronics and safety-critical software for both civil and military markets. Sagem is the No. 1 company in Europe and No. 3 worldwide for inertial navigation systems (INS) used in air, land and naval applications. It is also the world leader in helicopter flight controls and the European leader in optronics and tactical UAV systems. Operating across the globe through the Safran group, Sagem and its subsidiaries employ 6,900 people in Europe, Southeast Asia and North America. Sagem is the commercial name of the company Sagem Défense Sécurité. For more information: www.sagem-ds.com

Philippe Wodka-Gallien
Press Relations
+33 (0)1 58 11 19 49

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