The European Defence Agency (EDA) has agreed to approve a project for the next generation of European military earth observation satellites.

The multinational space-based imaging system (MUSIS) project has been launched by six European Union Member States: Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Italy and Spain.

The MUSIS project aims at establishing a multinational space-based imaging system for surveillance, reconnaissance and observation to ensure continuity of services from the current French Helios II, German SAR LUPE and Italian Cosmo-Skymed and Pléiades systems, from 2015-2017 onwards.

EDA Head, Javier Solana said that he welcomed the initiative of the EU member states in approving this critical capability.

“Space-based related assets are critical to improve European military capabilities, including for information gathering,” Solana said.

EDA’s chief executive, Alexander Weis said that the EDA was proving its value by bringing together member states as well as by connecting military to civil space agendas.

“We will liaise with the commission and the European Space Agency to ensure complementing research and technology, and to seek other synergies,” said Weis.

One of the roles for EDA will be to seek synergies with earth observation programmes on the civilian side, in particular with the global monitoring for environment and security (GMES) programme of the European Commission.

By Daniel Garrun.