The French CNES space agency has chosen a consortium led by Atos to develop its future space mission control centres.

Satellites are launched, put into orbit and piloted from a dedicated mission control centre for each space programme.

The consortium, also consisting of Thales, Astrium, Scassi, Spacebel and Telespazio, will develop a line of ISIS (Initiative for Space Innovative Standards) systems, which will constitute a new standard for mission control centres.

The ISIS standard will address mandatory space programme requirements in terms of performance, security and development over the next two decades, said CNES.

For each new satellite the CNES will use a generic ISIS baseline and will work on developing a dedicated mission control centre specifically designed for the mission. The first missions to benefit from this will be the CSO imaging defence space programme and MERLIN, a satellite designed to measure the level of methane gas in the atmosphere.

Marc Pircher, director of France's Toulouse Space Centre, said, "The issues of developing and keeping future space mission control centres operational over the next 20 years are crucial for CNES."

Atos is acting as the project manager across the programme, and is developing an IT architecture to support all system components that complies with military security standards. Atos will also adapt the generic ISIS solution to the needs of the MERLIN mission.

Thales is responsible for system definition and architecture, creating the command/control and flight dynamics components, and system validation and integration. Thales is also in charge of adapting the generic ISIS solution for the CSO mission.

The value of the consortium's contract with CNES has not been disclosed.