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Safran wins instrumentation and telemetry contract from French space agency for Callisto reusable launch vehicle demonstrator


French space agency CNES has selected Safran Data Systems to supply the instrumentation and telemetry equipment for the new Callisto reusable launch vehicle demonstrator.
Callisto launch vehicle illustration

Les Ulis, France, April 27, 2021

Callisto is a single-stage reusable launch vehicle developed jointly by CNES, DLR (German space agency) and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). The program aims to develop and demonstrate the technologies needed for the construction and operation of a reusable launch vehicle, as well as to more accurately assess its operating costs. Launches are planned from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana (South America).

Safran Data Systems will provide several CMA data acquisition units to acquire and process data from most of the launch vehicle’s instruments, sensors and video cameras, generating a telemetry stream transmitted to the control center in real time. These CMA will also receive commands from the ground and transmit them to the onboard computer, using a telemetry uplink that is designed to improve launch vehicle guidance during its return, in relation to its landing point.

The proposed CMA is generally used for missile flight testing and launch vehicle instrumentation. It features a robust and field-proven technology, and has already logged several thousand hours of service. Thanks to more than 40 years of cooperation with all key players at the European Spaceport in Kourou, Safran Data Systems is also very familiar with CNES standards for instrumentation and telemetry. Equipment based on the same technology are already used on Ariane 5 to provide enhanced flight safety during the first minutes after liftoff.

Jean-Marc Astorg, head of the Launch Vehicles Directorate at CNES noted that, “Our objective is to fly as high as 25 kilometers and perform all maneuvers needed to land very close to the launch pad, to within just a few meters… and of course to reuse the same vehicle five times!”
Safran Data Systems will provide full support to CNES and its partners DLR and JAXA throughout the development and operation of the new Callisto launch vehicle.

“We are extremely pleased with CNES’s decision,” said Jean-Marie Bétermier, CEO of Safran Data Systems. “It marks the first use of our CMA data acquisition unit on a reusable launch vehicle – and a major and very inspiring technological challenge for us!”

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Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aviation (propulsion, equipment and interiors), defense and space markets. Its core purpose is to contribute to a safer, more sustainable world, where air transport is more environmentally friendly, comfortable and accessible. Safran has a global presence, with 79,000 employees and sales of 16.5 billion euros in 2020 and holds, alone or in partnership, world or regional leadership positions in its core markets. Safran is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange and is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50 indices.

Safran Data Systems, a subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense, is a world leader in testing instrumentation, telemetry and space communications. It makes a complete range of satellite tracking ground stations and equipment, working with satellite manufacturers, integrators, operators and space agencies (communications and Earth observation satellites).

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