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  • Satellite Evolution

SSC signs ten-year partnership agreement with CNES, continues as prime polar ground support provider

Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) has signed a contract with French government space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) for an extension of partnership regarding ground station coverage for polar missions. For 10 years, SSC has been a prime partner for CNES’ polar-orbiting satellites through the combined use of two jointly developed ground stations in Sweden and Canada. The renewed contract will span over 10 more years beginning from December 2022.

The Space industry is experiencing tremendous market growth with almost five times more satellites to be launched by 2030 compared to the previous decade (source Euroconsult). The LEO orbit concentrates a significant number of satellites and the demand for ground-to-space connectivity in the polar region keeps rising. From these satellite stations in Esrange and Inuvik, currently supporting around 12 CNES missions, SSC and CNES will share the capacity of two 13m S/X antennas, covering 40 daily passes each.

“The long-term strategic relationship established with SSC enables us to provide efficient support to our polar orbiting missions. These stations allow reliable satellite communications for CNES and partnership science missions that are highly beneficial to Earth and climate variables observations such as the upcoming joint JPL-CNES SWOT mission. The CNES network of ground stations, fully integrated, operated and maintained remotely from Toulouse Space Centre, gives our agency a unique operational position for the complete range of our activities from launch to decommissioning, enabling us to build long-standing partnerships and frame agreements with many international partners,“ says François Sillion, CNES’ Director of Technology and Digital.

“We are very glad to announce this new contract with one of our most important and long-term partners. Polar connectivity is particularly challenging due to the busy satellite traffic in those regions, but through the combined use of our ground stations in Kiruna and Inuvik – the ‘Kinuvik’ concept – we have had 10 successful years of collaboration and development with CNES. We look forward to continuing to develop our ground capabilities together with CNES,” says Nicholas Priborsky, SSC President of Satellite Management Services.


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