DGA Launches Development of MUSIS User Ground Segment
(Source: French defence procurement agency, DGA; issued Jan 23, 2014)
(Issued in French; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
The Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA) in late 2013 awarded Airbus Defence and Space (previously known as Astrium) a contract for the development and production of the user ground segment of MUSIS (MUltinational Space-based Imaging System for Surveillance, reconnaissance and observation), France’s future military space-based observation system.

The contract, valued at less than 300 million euros, also includes operational support of the ground segment for 12 years.

The satellite system being developed under France’s MUSIS program is intended to progressively replace the current Helios 2 optical system from 2017. It will allow the identification of smaller targets, the volume of imagery, particularly of crisis zones, will be increased, and the time needed to provide the imagery to decision-makers and to the military will be reduced.

Acting under delegation from DGA, the French space research center, CNES, in 2010 awarded a contract for the first two satellites to an industry team led by Airbus Defense and Space jointly with Thales Alenia Space.

The user ground segment that DGA has now ordered will allow programming and tasking of MUSIS’ optical satellites and the reception, production, distribution and storage of satellite imagery. It also will allow access to other space-based sensors, both French and Allied.

MUSIS is part of the answer to the priority assigned to intelligence-gathering by the 2014-2019 military program law. It also demonstrates the technological excellence of France’s space industry. (ends)



Airbus Defence and Space Wins Ground Segment Contract for Future French Defence Observation Satellite System
(Source: Airbus Defence and Space; issued Jan 23, 2014)
Space Systems of Airbus Defence and Space, number two worldwide in space technologies, has been selected by the French armament procurement agency DGA to build the user ground segment (UGS) of the MUSIS (MUltinational Space-based Imaging System for surveillance, reconnaissance and observation) observation satellite programme. This new deal includes providing through-life support for the user ground segment for 12 years.

In 2010, Astrium signed the contract with the French Space Agency CNES to manufacture the satellites. The MUSIS programme satellites are set to progressively take over from the Hélios programme satellites.

This ground segment will allow programming commands to be sent to the MUSIS satellites and to receive, generate, distribute and store the images they acquire. The UGS will also enable the French armed forces to access all the existing and future satellite observation sensors.

The ground segment is set to become operational by 2017 – the year in which the first satellite of the MUSIS programme will be launched.

“This contract has been secured thanks to the technological excellence and reliability of Space Systems in the space domain, which is currently experiencing especially intense competition in major institutional markets,” said François Auque, Head of Space Systems (formerly Astrium). “Astrium’s know-how and that of our partners, chief among them the teams at Cassidian – with whom we now work together in the same division –made all the difference with our customer, the DGA. I would like to thank the DGA for renewing the faith they have shown in us for more than 25 years now.”

The industrial team put together by Airbus Defence and Space in building the UGS is made up of leading defence and network infrastructure specialists (Capgemini, CS, etc) and innovative SMEs such as Magellium.


Airbus Defence and Space is a division of Airbus Group formed by combining the business activities of Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military. The new division is Europe’s number one defence and space enterprise, the second largest space business worldwide and among the top ten global defence enterprises. It employs some 40,000 employees generating revenues of approximately €14 billion per year.

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