India: The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has successfully launched the French SPOT-7 imaging satellite. The liftoff which took place from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre was on schedule. The PSLV vehicle also carried five other small payloads along with the French satellite. This included Canada’s CanX-4 and CanX-5, Germany’s AISSat-1, and Singapore’s two-satellite experiment VELOX-1.
The SPOT-7 satellite is identical to SPOT-6, which was deployed by another PSLV launch in September 2012. Both satellites are designed for ten years’ service, and were constructed by Airbus Defence and Space (formerly EADS Astrium), around the AstroSat-500 Mk.II bus.
Two imaging systems aboard the spacecraft, the New AstroSat Optical Modular Instruments (NAOMI), are capable of producing panchromatic images at a resolution of 1.5 to 2.2 metres, and multispectral images at a resolution of 6.0 to 8.8 metres. These instruments can cover a swath of 60 kilometres.
SPOT-7 is the seventh spacecraft in France’s SPOT, or Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre, programme. The first satellite in the series, SPOT-1, was placed into orbit by an Ariane 1 rocket in February 1986 and operated for four years before it was replaced by SPOT-2.
The five satellites are being launched by PSLV-C23 under commercial arrangements that Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO, which had entered into with the respective foreign agencies.