MUSIS: Can Europe Share Space Surveillance, Seamlessly?

Latest updates: Italians buy their own optical satellite; MUSIS B1 is done; MUSIS-FA Systems & Satellite details.

Europe has a number of military satellite programs underway at the moment, but cooperation has been mostly haphazard and bilateral. Hence the ideal of MUSIS, a Multinational Space-Based Imagery System that would bring future sets of optical and radar imaging satellites under a common ground infrastructure, combining national or bilateral programs with interoperability that would allow these nations to make better use of their limited space surveillance resources.

So far, MUSIS remains more of an aspiration, though satellite components have been contracted. If it works, the overall MUSIS constellation will replace a number of previous platforms: France’s Helios 2, Germany’s Sar-Lupe radar satellite; and the ORFEO cooperative program that includes both France’s dual-use Pleiades optical satellites, and Italy’s dual-use COSMO-SkyMed X-band radar observation satellites. Participants would include Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain. (more on