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French Space Command is expanding and diversifying its sources of information concerning the space environment by subscribing to WeTrackTM, a global network of radio-frequency (RF) sensors designed, owned and operated by Safran Data Systems. The WeTrackTM service tracks geo-stationary satellites, detects their manoeuvres and monitors geo-stationary orbit in general.

RF technology enables the 24/7 real-time positioning and manoeuvre detection of satellites in geo-stationary orbit. With the positioning and manoeuvring data delivered by WeTrackTM, operators can easily and clearly distinguish between two satellites very close to each other, track them and provide a very accurate measurement of the distance separating them.

With the advent of new space-based threats and the growing number of objects orbiting the Earth, space surveillance has become a major challenge for nations seeking to protect their strategic and economic interests.

Space Command Key

“Our space defence strategy makes space situational awareness a key to meeting our country’s objectives in this area,” noted Michel Friedling, French Air Force Major General and Head of the Space Command. “In 2019 the Minister of the Armed Forces therefore announced the creation of a programme called ARES (Action et Résilience Spatiale), covering all space surveillance and action capabilities. Our strategy recommends a mixture of legacy capabilities and procurement of services. We quickly signed an initial service contract with Safran Data Systems, providing for the delivery of radio-frequency sensed data, improving our ability to detect, locate and especially characterise active objects in space. This is an invaluable asset, and provides an excellent fit with optical observation capabilities.”

Jean-Marie Bétermier, CEO of Safran Data Systems, added: “The French Space Command’s selection of our service reflects global recognition for the people who designed and operate WeTrackTM. It’s also a clear signal from the space sector, showing that the convergence of commercial means and national missions is very much a reality, enabling us to rise to the emerging challenges of space surveillance and traffic management.”

Jack Richardson