ArianeGroup's GEOTracker® service is now called Helix
ArianeGroup’s GEOTracker® space surveillance service is renamed Helix
This new name marks the service’s extension to low and medium Earth orbits, for night and day operations, with enhanced precision, in addition to the GEO service which has been operational since 2011
Helix contributes to precise space situation awareness, by a permanent object catalog service, detailed space object characterization, and detection of “abnormal” events
GEOTracker® has been renamed Helix to better reflect the wide range of LEO to GEO space surveillance services offered by ArianeGroup.
In order to permanently upgrade its catalog of thousands of space objects,Helix now includes new capabilities such as eye-safe laser ranging and imaging. The service is expanding and the network spans the entire globe, constantly improving how it meets customer requirements and the future challenges linked to the increase and densification of space activities. With 15 stations around the world, Helix® is today the largest private European telescope network; it is planned to grow to 30 stations by 2025.
Helix provides high-precision day and night positioning and orbit determination data as well as analysis of space objects in various orbits. The service is ideally suited to the needs of both civil and military satellite operators, for surveillance, tracking and collision warnings. It enables these operators to protect their satellites against all types of risks. Helix thus provides the high value-added information essential for the development of future French and European space programs.
“When we created our own space surveillance service, about 10 years ago, we were groundbreakers. Today, nations are more and more aware of the hazards facing their space systems. Orbital infrastructures have become vital for the working of our modern societies. Our traditional expertise in large space systems and strategic space situation analysis, enable us now to contribute to responding to these major challenges to the security of Europe’s citizens. Renaming our space surveillance service is a sign of how much it has developed and illustrates its quality and effectiveness. It symbolizes the pioneering, innovative spirit of our teams working tirelessly for our customers,” said Martin Sion, CEO of ArianeGroup.
The Helix network, which already permanently covers 360° of the geostationary arc, is now extended to cover low Earth orbits. It features the latest optical and laser technological innovations for extreme precision in detection and measurement, using automation and rapid orbital data processing, supported by artificial intelligence. The data collected round-the-clock (day and night) are analyzed in a Command and Control Center based in Les Mureaux, near Paris. They are then interpreted and processed on behalf of customers, in the form of a range of secure managed operational services and products. The observation stations are developed, assembled, and tested on ArianeGroup’s Saint-Médard-en-Jalles site, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in south-west France, before being dispatched around the world.
Being able to perform detailed space object characterization and non-stop collection and fast-rate production of high value-added information is essential for paving the way for future developments under the European Defence Fund (EDF).
The French Ministry for the Armed Forces uses this system to detect, track and help characterize space objects, and receive warning of any abnormal behavior, for permanent space situation awareness and to contribute to protection of national space assets. As every year, ArianeGroup space surveillance teams recently took part in the AsterX exercise for the French Space Command (CDE) and its international partners.
The European Commission also selected ArianeGroup in June 2021 for its Sauron and Integral space surveillance projects, confirming the company’s role as a leading player in this field.