Arianespace has received the launch contract on 7 December for four CO3D Earth observation satellites. They are to be orbited by the upcoming delayed Vega C rocket – built by Avio, Italy. The launch is planned to take place in 2023, and will see the four satellites deployed into different locations in a 500 km orbit.
The CO3D satellites are the first of upto 24 planned units in a Airbus and CNES project. It is hoped that these satellites will provide a detailed, 3-D map of the Earth whilst at the same time providing Airbus with imaging products and CNES with scientific data. The two organisations have funded these initial four satellites but the intention is for governments and private customers to fund other units to grow the fleet.