Hélios 2A, PARASOL & Others

Launch Time
Sat Dec 18, 2004 16:26 UTC

Final flight of Ariane 5G+. Flight V164.


Ariane 5 G+
Image Credit: Arianespace
Status: Retired
Price: $190.0 million
Payload to GTO: 7,100 kg
Stages: 2
Strap-ons: 2

Mission Details

Hélios 2A

The Helios 2 system includes Helios 2A and Helios 2B, both of which are European military observation satellites used by France, Belgium, Spain, and Greece. Helios 2B was launched five years later on December 18, 2009, carried also by an Ariane 5. The two satellites are identical. They carry a Thales-built high-resolution visible and thermal infrared instrument with 35 cm resolution, and an Airbus-built medium-resolution instrument.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 4,170.0 kg
Sun-Synchronous Orbit


Essaim (swarm, in French) is a French military reconnaissance microsatellite constellation. Its main purpose is to collect and map signals intelligence across the world. The DGA describes it as a "vacuum cleaner for [radio] waves". Essaim is a constellation of four 120 kg microsatellites (including one spare) in low earth orbit. They are demonstration models which were supposed to last three years. They fly separated by a few hundred kilometers. Missions are designed by the Celar (Centre d'électronique de l'armement) in Bruz, near Rennes and are uploaded from CNES in Toulouse to the constellation. Collected data follows the same path in reverse order.

Payloads: 4
Total Mass: 480.0 kg
Sun-Synchronous Orbit


PARASOL (Polarization & Anisotropy of Reflectances for Atmospheric Sciences coupled with Observations from a Lidar) is a French-built Earth-observing research satellite. It carries an instrument called POLDER which studies the radiative and microphysical properties of clouds and aerosols.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 108.0 kg
Sun-Synchronous Orbit

Nanosat 01

NanoSat-1 (also referred to as NanoSat-01) is a low-cost technology demonstration nanosatellite of INTA (Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aerospacial), the Spanish Space Agency, Madrid.

Payloads: 1
Total Mass: 19.0 kg
Sun-Synchronous Orbit


ELA-3, Guiana Space Centre, French Guiana, France



50th orbital launch attempt


152nd mission
3rd mission of 2004
145th successful mission
8th consecutive successful mission

Ariane 5

20th mission
3rd mission of 2004
16th successful mission
6th consecutive successful mission