Arianespace to launch a French astronomy mission in 2019: the EyeSat triple Cubesat
(9 January 2019 - Arianespace) Arianespace and the French CNES space agency today announced the signature of a launch services contract for the EyeSat Cubesat, an astronomy mission that will study zodiacal light as well as image the Milky Way.
EyeSat is a triple Cubesat-sized nanosatellite designed to study the zodiacal light and image the Milky Way. It has three main objectives:
- Scientific, by observing the zodiacal light in the visible bandwidth, in both polarized and non-polarized modes; and taking a thorough – and global image – of the Milky Way in color.
- To demonstrate new satellite technologies. These technologies were developed through research efforts by CNES, and are considered sufficiently mature to be incorporated on EyeSat.
- To train students in space engineering professions.
The EyeSat nanosatellite is being financed and developed by the French CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales) space agency within the scope of the Janus project (Jeunes en Apprentissage pour la réalisation de Nanosatellites des Universités et des écoles de l’enseignement Supérieur), designed to encourage students in universities and engineering schools to develop their own nanosatellites. EyeSat will be launched in 2019 as an auxiliary payload with the COSMO-SkyMed Second Generation (CSG 1) and CHEOPS satellites from the Guiana Space Center (CSG) aboard a Soyuz launcher.
The satellite is in the form of a triple Cubesat and is fitted with an instrument called IRIS, which is a small space telescope. It will have a mass at liftoff of approximately 8 kg. and will be placed in Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of about 500 km.
Following the contract signature, Marie-Anne Claire, Director of Orbital Systems at CNES, said: “Thanks to the EyeSat triple Cubesat, CNES will be able to test in orbit a dozen new miniaturized technologies developed through our research and technology program. We also helped train more than 250 students in space engineering professions. CNES is very pleased that EyeSat will be orbited by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Center.”
Stéphane Israël, Chief Executive Officer of Arianespace, added: “Arianespace is honored to have been chosen by CNES to launch the EyeSat triple Cubesat dedicated to science. Once again we have proven our ability to guarantee independent and competitive access to space for Europe, encompassing satellites of all sizes, thanks to our flexible service offering and our versatile family of launchers.”
Arianespace uses space to make life better on Earth by providing launch services for all types of satellites into all orbits. It has orbited more than 590 satellites since 1980, using its family of three launchers, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega, from launch sites in French Guiana (South America) and Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
Arianespace is headquartered in Evry, near Paris, and has a technical facility at the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, plus local offices in Washington, D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.
Arianespace is a subsidiary of ArianeGroup, which holds 74% of its share capital, with the balance held by 15 other shareholders from the European launcher industry.