Model of Artemis Satellite in original size.
|Operator||European Space Agency|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||12 July 2001, 21:58UTC|
|Rocket||Ariane 5G V142|
|Launch site||Kourou ELA-3|
The mission was planned for many years, with launch initially intended for 1995 and slipping; it was intended for launch on Ariane 5 but at one point there were suggestions that a Japanese H-II rocket might be used.
Launched by an Ariane 5 rocket on 12 July 2001, it originally reached an orbit much lower than planned (590 km x 17487 km). It was remotely reconfigured to reach its intended station by means of a novel procedure. First, over the course of about a week, most of its chemical fuel was used to put it in a 31,000 km circular orbit (by raising first the apogee then the perigee, going via a 590 km x 31000 km orbit). Then, its electric-ion motor — originally intended for station keeping and for firing a few minutes at a time — was instead kept running for most of 18 months, pushing the spacecraft into an outward spiral trajectory. It gained altitude at the rate of about 15 km per day, until it reached the intended geostationary orbit.
The Artemis satellite has several payloads 
- SILEX (Semiconductor-laser Intersatellite Link Experiment) is a laser link, which has been used both to communicate with the SPOT-4 remote-sensing satellite and with a plane in flight. It uses a 60 mW GaAlAs laser diode as the transmitter and a photodiode detector, with a 25 cm telescope aperture, and a data rate of 50Mbit/s; it weighs about 160 kg and uses 150 watts of power. The telescope is in a fork mounting. The system is designed and built by Astrium.
- SKDR (S/Ka band Data Relay), a system for relaying data from other satellites. This uses a 2.85-metre antenna.
- LLM (L-band Land Mobile), a system designed for satellite communication with fairly small vehicle-based terminals in Europe. This uses a second 2.85-metre antenna, providing four beams; one covers Europe from western Spain to eastern Turkey and from the southern point of Tunisia to the north of Norway, whilst three spot beams cover respectively France and Spain; central Europe and Italy; Turkey and south-East Europe.
- An advanced ion propulsion system with 44 kg of xenon reaction mass
Artemis is used operationally for data relay from ESA's satellites in low Earth orbit; a SILEX link to SPOT-4 is established daily. It can also be used on an emergency basis; for example, it was used to relay information from the automated transfer vehicle Jules Verne while mission control at Houston was unavailable due to a hurricane.
- ARTEMIS Announcement of Opportunity (1). European Space Agency. 19 December 2012. p. 12. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- "Japanese H2 may be used as Artemis launcher for Europe". Flight International. July 10, 1996.
- "Artemis Telecommunications Satellite, Europe". aerospace-technology.com. 2001.
- "Artemis finally reaches operational orbit". ESA. January 31, 2003.
- "NASA/NSF Panel on SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGY (1993 study) ARTEMIS section". July 1993.
- "Another world first for ARTEMIS: a laser link with an aircraft". ESA. 19 December 2006.
- "Optical Communications in Space". ESA. August 1997.
- "SILEX : More than one thousand successful optical links". ESA. 29 June 2005.
- "Emergency support for Jules Verne ATV successfully given by Artemis". ESA. 23 September 2008.