France: Pléiades 1B, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) Earth observation satellite, has captured its first images using e2v high performance imaging sensors. Two types of e2v sensors (for panchromatic and multispectral imaging) equip the satellites high-resolution optical imaging instrument; these were selected by Thales Alenia Space, who is providing the HR instrument to Astrium, developed under CNES contract.
Pléiades 1B has been designed to provide dual use optical observation coverage with a 70-centimeter resolution. It was launched into space from French Guiana on 30 November 2012 and has accompanied its twin, Pléiades 1A, which was launched into space in December 2011. The Astrium division of EADS built both Pléiades satellites for the French CNES space agency for use by the French and Spanish defence ministries, civil institutions, and private users. They are based on smaller, cheaper, more agile platforms than their predecessors – the highly-successful Spot satellite series.
The 200kg, high-resolution optical imaging instrument on board Pléiades is equipped with a panchromatic and multispectral focal plane. Five e2v CCD98-50 imaging sensors equip the panchromatic focal plane; the sensors have 6,000 pixels each (giving 30,000 pixels per line), are back-thinned to improve sensitivity and have Time Delay Integration (TDI) functionality to enable them to capture high resolution images (70cm on-ground resolution). The multispectral focal plane is made up of five e2v AT71554 imaging sensors. These imaging sensors cover four spectral bands, made up of 1,500 pixels each, with each spectral band providing 7,500 pixels once installed in the focal plane.
Bertrand De Monte, marketing manager of high performance imaging at e2v said, “We are very pleased to be continuing our successful relationship with Thales Alenia Space, Astrium, and CNES by supplying high performance image sensors for Pléiades 1B. e2v has provided image sensors for a number of Earth observation satellites including the original Pléiades 1A and SPOT 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. We look forward to seeing yet more high resolution images of the Earth, made possible by e2v solutions.”