TOULOUSE, France, March 8 (UPI) -- French space technology company Astrium has been contracted to continue ground segment maintenance for the Helios 2 reconnaissance satellite.
The contract runs through 2018 and continues company efforts on the pan-European optical reconnaissance system begun in 2005.
"Ground segment maintenance is essential for a space observation system -- alongside the satellites in orbit, the ground segment is at the heart of the system as it is essential for programming, receiving, processing and distributing the images," Astrium said in announcing the award from the French defense procurement agency, DGA.
"The MCO agreement covers the maintenance, including all necessary updates, of the hardware and software resources spread across in six countries (Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy and Greece) as well as support for operations."
The contract covers successor programs to Helios, satellites that comprise the optical space component of the multinational space-based imaging system and the associated ground component.
Helios 2 was developed by France -- with Astrium as prime contractor -- in cooperation with Belgium, Spain, Italy and Greece.