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Mapping radar stations from Space

Elisa is a demonstration project sponsored by the French defence procurements agency (DGA). It will prepare the ground for the future operational programme ROEM (Elint) for mapping the positions of radar and other transmitters throughout the world and determining their technical characteristics.

The programme will attempt to meet two needs:

  • Keeping databases used for electronic warfare up to date,
  • Detecting and monitoring activities during operations.

Elisa involves Elint payloads which will be carried on board 4 Myriade micro-satellites. These will be placed in Low Earth Orbit a few kilometres from each other and will record all signals intercepted. When the measurements stored by each micro-satellite are combined, it will be possible to locate and characterise the source of each signal.

The ground segment is made up of two connected units, one for controlling the satellites and transmitting operating schedules (SSC1), the other for preparing the schedules and processing the measurements (SSU2).

CNES is providing the SSC and is also chief contracting authority for the project together with the DGA. The industrial prime contractor is a consortium of EADS-Astrium SAS and Thales Systèmes Aéroportés SA as joint contractors, with EADS as the mandated representative.

(1) SSC: satellite control ground segment
(2) SSU: user ground segment

Elisa (Electronic Intelligence Satellite)
Initiator DGA
Participants CNES, DGA, EADS Astrium SAS, Thales Systèmes Aéroportés SA
Objectives Location and identification of radar stations
Status In orbit
Lau,ch 17 December 2011




Pléiades and ELISA satellites successfully launched

December 17, 2011

The Russian Soyuz launcher successfully completed its second flight from French Guiana, orbiting the Pléiades, ELISA and SSOT satellites today.