On Wednesday 19 December 2018, a Soyuz (Mission VS20) launcher operated by Arianespace took off from Kourou with the new French CSO-1 military reconnaissance satellite on board. The satellite was put into orbit at 18:38 CET.
The three CSO satellites will complete and replace the two Helios II satellites (military SPOT 5 platform whose platform was built by Sonaca) which are currently used by the French government. The CSOs have a new optics offering better definition, greater agility to increase the number of shots on a theater of operation and greater accuracy in terms of military location.
Sonaca cooperates since 2009 in this multinational framework aiming to develop an autonomous European Defense observation capability. Its contribution is the development, production and structural static tests of the complete structure for the largest European satellite of this type, of an overall volume of more than 40 m³. The satellite platforms were delivered between 2013 and 2016