CERES (Capacité de Renseignement Electromagnétique Spatiale or Space Signal Intelligence Capacity) is a French ELINT satellite system, consisting of three closely positioned satellites that are designed to detect and locate ground signals, along with ground control and user ground segments.
CERES is the first operational interception system for the French defence agency and draws on the experience acquired from the ESSAIM and ELISA demonstrators:
Airbus Defence and Space has been entrusted with the space segment comprising the three satellites, while Thales is responsible for the payload and the user ground segment. The two manufacturers are the joint prime contractors for the entire system. In addition, Thales Alenia Space acts as a subcontractor to Airbus Defence and Space in supplying the platform. Originally the ELITE bus was to be used, but a mission-specific platform was eventually developed.
The satellites were launched in 2021 (delayed from 2020) on a Vega rocket.
|Type / Application:||SIGINT|
|Contractors:||Airbus Defence and Space (prime); Thales Alenia Space (bus)|
|Power:||Deployable solar array, batteries|
|Orbit:||670 km × 670 km, 75°|
|CERES 1||2021-105A||16.11.2021||Ko ELV||Vega||with CERES 2, 3|
|CERES 2||2021-105B||16.11.2021||Ko ELV||Vega||with CERES 1, 3|
|CERES 3||2021-105C||16.11.2021||Ko ELV||Vega||with CERES 1, 2|