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Thursday, June 29, 2006

France To Launch Military Communications Satellite In August

Paris (AFP): France is set to launch its military communications satellite, Syracuse 3B, on August 11 from its base in Kourou, French Guiana, the program director said Wednesday. "The launch of the Syracuse 3B by an Ariane 5 ECA rocket carrying a Japanese communications satellite is scheduled for August 11," said Caroline Laurent, head of the Syracuse program at the French weapons agency (DGA), during a visit to the Fauvieres military base.

The Syracuse system was first developed in 1985, after which several versions of the satellite have been adopted. Syracuse 3, a satellite packed with electronics reserved for the exclusive use of the French military, is designed to reinforce communications security and is said to be particularly effective against attempted interference.

The first satellite of the new program, the Syracuse 3A, was launched last October. The 3B is identical though heavier at 3,700 kilos (8,200 pounds) at lift-off compared with 2,700 kilos for the 3A. The satellites are expected to last 14 years.

The Syracuse 3 program, at a cost of 2.3 billion euros (2.9 billion dollars), is under the direction of the DGA, in association with Alcatel Alenia Space for the satellite development and with Thales for the reception stations.

The satellites are also available for use by NATO, Belgium and German
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