Flight 124 cargo: French Helios 1B spy satellite
Hitchhiker Clementine catches ride, too
SPACEFLIGHT NOW RESEARCH
Posted: Dec. 1, 1999
The French Missile and Space Directorate heads the overall $2 billion Helios program, the first military reconnaissance system developed in Europe. Program funding is divided with France providing 79 percent, Italy adding 14 percent and 7 percent from Spain.
The Helios 1A and 1B spacecraft are based upon Matra Marconi Space's Spot 4 Earth-observing satellite. They are 3-axis stabilized and nadir pointing. The optical reconnaissance satellites provide images with approximately one-meter resolution. Operations can be performed only during daylight and clear weather conditions.
A follow-on pair of advanced Helios 2 satellites are under development by Matra Marconi Space, and will be based on the Spot 5 satellite design. They will feature an infrared capability to allow observations at night.
Arianespace Flight 124 will feature an Ariane Structure for Auxiliary Payloads, or ASAP, to carry a French military microsatellite into space. The upcoming mission will place the 50 kg Clementine satellite into orbit following deployment of Helios 1B.
Clementine's mission is to test technologies for military eavesdropping satellites of the future. The tiny craft was provided by Alcatel Space and Thomson to study the Earth's radioelectrical environment.
The satellite will be the second technology testbed to be launched as a precursor to the French Zenon signals intelligence satellite program. The first was Cerise, launched along with Helios 1A in 1995.
Flight data file
Vehicle: Ariane 40
Payloads: Helios 1B and Clementine
Launch date: Dec. 3, 1999
Launch window: 1622-1642 GMT (1122-1142 EST)
Launch site: ELA-2, Kourou, French Guina
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Arianespace - European launch services provider that uses Ariane 4 and 5 rockets to carry satellites into space.
Matra Marconi Space - European satellite manufacturer and builder of Helios 1B.
Alcatel Space - European satellite manufacturer responsible for Clementine.
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