PARIS, Jan. 21 -- Alcatel Space, a subsidiary of Alcatel, has been chosen to build two demonstration satellites by EADS Astrium, the prime contractor for the SPIRALE (Systeme Preparatoire Infra-Rouge pour l'Alerte) early-warning system, which will gather and analyze infrared images of terrestrial backgrounds to detect ballistic missiles during their powered phase, just after launch.
Alcatel Space is the prime contractor for the space segment, comprising two 120-kg-class microsatellites 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 space-borne early-warning system that will use optical sensors. Alcatel Space said this system would be key to an anti-ballistic missile defense system, and would contribute to other missions, such as monitoring weapon proliferation, for the French defense procurement agency DGA.
For more information, visit: www.alcatel.com