Atmospheric reentry observations


For those missions, an airborne radar system is mounted on the Airbus A300 ZERO-G: two antennas are attached on the front right cargo door and seven instrument racks and a CCD camera are installed in the cabin.
Sogerma Services was in charge of those modifications and also provides aircraft support during these observation missions. The objective of those missions is to characterize very accurately the atmospheric reentry of the Space object in order to validate and refine ground impact prediction models.
The American company System Planning Corporation designed and operates the radar system during those observation missions. ONERA is currently designing an onboard infrared observation system.


Novespace has already performed three observation missions for the reentry of the main cryogenic stage (EPC) of Ariane 5 launcher, in the framework of ARTA (Accompaniment in Research and Technology for Ariane 5) program of ESA, with the support of CNES Launch Vehicles Directorate.

During two missions performed from the West coast of Mexico, the reentry of EPC was observed above the Pacific Ocean. One of this mission was carried out during the lauch of Rosetta interplanetary probe.
Another mission was carried out from the West coast of Africa in order to observe the reentry of EPC above the Atlantic Ocean.

Key actors of the program

CNES Launch Vehicles Directorate

System Planning Corporation


Sogerma Services

09.05.17 | VP129 organized for ESA, european space agency

27.03.17 | VP128 organized for the french space agency, CNES

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