Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chairman and CEO of Arianespace, and Marc Pircher, Director of the Toulouse Space Center, has announced that they have signed the launch contract for the Taranis scientific satellite. The contract includes options for the launch of two other CNES satellites, MICROSCOPE and Merlin. Taranis is being developed by CNES using the MYRIADE platform and will weigh about 200 kg at launch.
It will be launched from the Guiana Space Center in a multiple launch by a Soyuz or Vega rocket, into a quasi-sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 km between the end of 2015 and the end of 2016. Taranis (Tool for the Analysis of RAdiation from lightNIng and Sprites) will study magnetosphere-ionosphere-atmosphere coupling via transient processes.
The Taranis mission will focus in particular on two aspects: determining the characteristics and frequency of transient luminous events (TLE) involved in the coupling between the ionosphere and atmosphere, and characterizing the electron beams accelerated from the atmosphere to the magnetosphere.
After signing this latest contract, Jean-Yves Le Gall said: "Today, thanks to our complete family of launch vehicles, we can offer our customers a range of launch services that capitalizes on the complementary capabilities of the Soyuz and Vega rockets to meet the specific needs of scientific missions.
"Following the contract for the launch of the DZZ-HR observation satellite, this is the second contract we have won in less than three weeks for a launch into low orbit. "We are of course delighted to be working with CNES once again, since we enjoy a long-standing relationship of mutual trust that will undoubtedly be even further strengthened in the coming months."
Marc Pircher confirmed the advantages of signing a contract with Arianespace for the launch of Myriade-based microsatellites, saying: "Our launch opportunities have been multiplied thanks to the availability of the two launchers Soyuz and Vega, and also because of Arianespace's solid position as a leading launch service provider for satellites manufactured worldwide."