Alcatel Space has been chosen by EADS Astrium, the prime contractor for the SPIRALE (SystÃ¨me PrÃ©paratoire Infra-Rouge pour l’Alerte) early warning program, to build two demonstration satellites.
The SPIRALE program, worth 124 million Euros, involves the supply and operation of a complete ballistic missile early warning system. It will gather and analyse infrared images of terrestrial backgrounds to detect ballistic missiles during their powered phase, just after launch.
Alcatel Space is prime contractor for the space segment, comprising two 120-kg class micro-satellites in elliptical orbit. They will be launched in 2008 by an Ariane 5 rocket.
A first in Europe, this demonstration program is designed to pave the way for a future spaceborne early warning system using optical sensors.
This system would be key to an anti-ballistic missile defence system, as well as contributing to other missions, such as monitoring of weapon proliferation, for the French defence procurement agency DGA.