France launches 1st of three next-generation optical/infrared reconnaissance satellites

by Peter B. de Selding

PARIS – French defense officials hope the successful Dec. 19 launch of a French optical and infrared reconnaissance satellite will help defend their proposed military space budget of 3.6 billion euros ($3.9 billion) between 2019 and 2025 against budget pressures.

But they have lost their illusions about whether a unified European military space program will see the day anytime soon, even with the verbal provocations of U.S. President Donald Trump that some EU governments had said would spur military collaboration.

The 3,565-kilogram CSO-1 satellite was successfully placed into polar low Earth orbit aboard a Europeanized . . .

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