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6 EU Nations To Develop Satellite System by 2015

Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Italy and Spain agreed here March 5 to work together within the European Defence Agency (EDA) to develop the next generation of European military Earth-observation satellites. The six European Union members have together launched the Multinational Space-based Imaging System (MUSIS) project.

MUSIS aims to establish a system for surveillance, reconnaissance and observation to take over from the current French Helios II, German SAR LUPE and Italian Cosmo-Skymed and PlĂ©iades systems from 2015-17. The EDA’s Capability Development Plan considers space-based imaging capacities to be essential for European Security and Defence Policy.

EDA officials declined to provide more details, including cost.

One of EDA’s roles will be to seek synergies with Earth-observation programs on the civilian side, in particular with the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security program of the European Commission.

“We will liaise with the Commission and the European Space Agency to ensure complementarity of research and technology, and to seek other synergies,” said Alexander Weis, the EDA’s chief executive.

The project is open to other EDA countries wanting to join later, provided that their contribution is acceptable to the existing consortium. The United Kingdom, for example, is not part of the program, but the U.K. Ministry of Defence said that it had not ruled out taking part at a later date.


More info at EDA