Launch of SPOT 7 completes Airbus Defence and Space observation satellite constellation

Launch of SPOT 7 completes Airbus Defence and Space observation satellite constellation

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The SPOT 7 Earth-observation satellite, designed and developed by Airbus Defence and Space, was launched on 30 June at 6:22 am (Paris time) by a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India.

It will now join the orbit in which its twin, SPOT 6, and the very-high-resolution observation satellites Pléiades 1A and 1B are located, and will be positioned at 180° in relation to SPOT 6.

The company will thus operate a constellation of four optical satellites that will open up opportunities for new applications. This means that every day, every point on the globe can be viewed both in high resolution by a SPOT satellite and in very high resolution by a Pléiades satellite. While SPOT 6 and 7 will cover wider areas with a resolution of 1.5 m, Pléiades 1A and 1B will be focused on more targeted zones with a greater level of detail (50 cm products).

Evert Dudok, Head of Communications, Intelligence & Security (CIS) at Airbus Defence and Space, said: “The services provided by this optical constellation are further enhanced by the TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X radar satellites’ capabilities. This complementarity between optical and radar, coupled with different resolutions, means we are the only company worldwide who offers our customers these unique services.”

Like its twin, SPOT 7 covers wide areas in record time. With both satellites in orbit, acquisition capacity will be boosted to six million square kilometres per day – an area ten times the size of France. The SPOT 6/7 constellation thus considerably improves the capabilities and performance offered by SPOT 5, which has been in operation since 2002 and which is scheduled to be decommissioned from commercial service during the first quarter of 2015. This new constellation offers a higher resolution, greater programming reactivity and a much higher volume of images acquired daily (in monoscopic or stereoscopic mode).

The new capabilities of SPOT 6, which began commercial operations in February 2013, fulfil requirements relating to national cartography at a scale of 1:25,000, for applications in the areas of land use, the struggle against deforestation, environmental monitoring, maritime surveillance and the oil industry.

Source: Airbus Defence and Space