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  • Satellite Evolution

VV20: Arianespace' Vega launcher successfully orbits three Ceres satellites

On Tuesday, November 16 at 6:27 am local time in Kourou, French Guiana, Arianespace successfully launched three CERES military intelligence satellites from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America).

“This mission shows the exceptional versatility of the Vega launcher,” said Stéphane Israël, Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace. “Our light launcher had already orbited two satellites for the Pleiades Neo constellation for Airbus this year, along with nine auxiliary payloads, and today we continue this string with three CERES satellites. I would like to thank the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, DGA and CNES for continuing to entrust us with their missions, and also congratulate everybody responsible for this success at Arianespace and Avio, the Vega prime contractor. It marks the third success in less than a month for our launcher family Ariane, Vega and Soyuz.”


The three CERES (CapacitÉ de Renseignement Électromagnétique Spatiale) satellites are designed to collect signals intelligence (SIGINT) from areas inaccessible to surface sensors, excluding restrictions on airspace overflights and in all weather conditions. They will greatly enhance visual situational awareness to support the design and execution of military operations. A state-of-the-art system, CERES allows France to join the very select club of nations with these

advanced capabilities. Airbus Defence and Space is the prime contractor for the space segment, and is co-prime with Thales Defence Mission Systems, in charge of the payload and user ground segment. In addition, Thales Alenia Space acts as a subcontractor to Airbus Defence and Space for the supply of the satellite platform.


The Vega launcher, built by Avio (Colleferro, Italy) as prime contractor, is perfectly suited to the institutional market. Because of its performance and versatility, Arianespace offers customers the best possible solutions to orbit their small and medium payloads for a wide range of applications (Earth observation, science, education, defense, etc.).


The launch at a glance:

  • 336th launch for the Arianespace launcher family (300th launch from CSG),

  • CERES 1, 2 and 3 are the 1,060th, 1,061st and 1,062nd satellites launched by Arianespace,

  • They are also the 47th, 48th and 49th French institutional satellites launched by Arianespace,

  • CERES 1, 2 and 3 are the 116th, 117th and 118th Earth observation satellites launched by Arianespace. Earth observation missions account for 11% of all satellites launched by Arianespace.

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