Helios (satellite)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Helios-I satellite

Helios is the name of a French series of optical reconnaissance satellites . Belgium , Spain , Italy and Germany also have usage rights .

The maximum resolution of the Hélios 1 satellites is 1 m, the swath width 10 km. The satellites of the Helios II generation have an improved resolution of 35 cm, an increased data transmission rate and infrared sensors for night shots. The satellites orbit the earth at an altitude of 700 km in a sun-synchronous orbit. The cost per satellite system is one billion euros.

EADS Astrium was awarded the contract by the French procurement authority DGA and the French national space agency CNES as prime contractor for Helios, for both the satellites and the user-ground segment. After the merger of Astrium with Airbus Military , the user floor segment has been operated by Airbus Defense and Space since 2014 .

The first Helios-1 satellite was launched on July 7, 1995. The first Helios II satellite was launched at the end of 2004 to compensate for the failure of Helios 1B. This was launched on December 3, 1999 and, after a fault in the power supply, was removed from the Helios 1A orbit in October 2004.

Previous Helios missions

mission Start (UTC) Launcher NSSDC ID
Helios 1A July 7, 1995 Ariane 40 1995-033A
Helios 1B December 3, 1999 Ariane 40 1999-064A
Helios 2A December 18, 2004 Ariane 5G + 2004-049A
Helios 2B December 18, 2009 Ariane 5GS 2009-073A

The European Helios headquarters and their locations

Through bilateral agreements, information from the German SAR-Lupe system and the Italian COSMO Skymed satellites can be accessed by all participating countries.


  • Niklas Reinke: History of the German space policy. Concepts, influencing factors and interdependencies: 1923-2002 , Munich 2004, ISBN 3-486-56842-6

Web links


  1. Hélios II. Direction générale de l'Armement, June 14, 2011, accessed on August 27, 2013 (French).
  2. AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY, Feb 23, 2009, p. 37
  3. French minder: Ariane deploys spy satellite Helios. Der Spiegel , December 18, 2004, accessed December 16, 2009 .
  4. Successful start of the French military earth observation satellite CSO built by Airbus. Retrieved May 16, 2019 .
  5. Thomas Weyrauch: Ariane 5 brings Helios 2B into space. Raumfahrer.net, December 20, 2009, accessed January 3, 2010 .