France: Astrium Services” Pléiades 1B satellite will be launched on December 1, 2012, by Arianespace. The second satellite in the Pléiades constellation will be orbited by a Soyuz launcher from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana. Once Pléiades 1B joins Pléiades 1A in orbit, they will form a constellation of identical twin satellites operated by Astrium Services. The two satellites will be phased 180 degrees on the same orbit to ensure daily revisits to any point on the globe. This unique, very-high-resolution configuration will offer civil and military users faster imaging of areas of interest, a regular surveillance capability and a twofold increase in coverage. With 50cm products delivered in record time, multiple imaging modes and daily revisits, the Pléiades constellation will enable more-detailed earth observation for a broad spectrum of precision applications including site monitoring, disaster relief support, urban mapping and sustainable management of natural resources.
Pléiades 1A was launched December 17, 2011, and has since acquired more than 40 million km² of imagery to add to the 100 billion km² already acquired by the SPOT satellites. The launch of Pléiades 1B marks the third step in the formation of a constellation of four satellites combining a double daily revisit capability and an ingenious range of resolutions. From 2014, this constellation will comprise Pléiades 1A and Pléiades 1B, delivering 50cm imagery products, and SPOT 6 and SPOT 7, designed to assure continuity of service after SPOT 5 and to supply high-resolution data products (1.5m). SPOT 6 was launched on September 9, 2012. Astrium Services is the exclusive distributor of data and geo-information products from this unique constellation.
Source: Sat News