The ESSAIM demonstrator, launched by Ariane 5 in December 2004, is a system of several micro-satellites (hence the name “swarm” in French) for analysis of the electro-magnetic environment of the Earth's surface developed for the French Ministry of Defence's procurement agency DGA. The system also comprises a ground control segment and a ground user segment for data processing. The mission's objective is to assess the operational capability of such a system, paving the way for the next generation. The ESSAIM satellites are based on the Myriade multipurpose micro-satellite product line developed jointly by EADS Astrium and the French Space Agency CNES since 1998. In partnership with Thales Systèmes Aéroportés, EADS Astrium delivered the complete turnkey system, including personnel training, launch services and maintenance over the initial three-year period of the programme, which ran up to second half of 2008. The use of this system has since been extended by 2 years.
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