Toulouse, France: Astrium announced successful launch of Pléiades 1B optical satellite. The satellite was launched by Soyuz flight VS04. It joined its twin Pléiades 1A to form the first ever high-resolution earth-observation constellation of its kind. The launch marks a new success for ESA, CNES and Arianespace, who jointly operate the launch base, less than a year after orbiting Pléiades 1A. Astrium Services will be the exclusive distributor of imagery from Pléiades 1A and 1B.
This daily revisit capability of the satellite will bring added value to users of satellite data products around the world. Being able to generate imagery anywhere in the world every day is vital for quick-response applications. With the Pléiades constellation, conflict and crisis zones or natural disaster areas will be viewable within hours to aid planning of relief and rescue operations.
Daily revisits also allow close monitoring of work progress on civil engineering projects, mining activities and industrial or military operations. And by bringing users twice as much imagery, the Pléiades satellites are suitable for mapping large areas at high resolution, as images are acquired twice as fast to increase the chances of obtaining cloud-free views.
Built by Astrium for the French space agency CNES, the Pléiades constellation offers users products at a resolution of 50-cm with an imaging swath of 20-km, the widest in its category.
A constellation of 4 satellites en route to orbit
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 50-cm imagery products, and SPOT 6 and SPOT 7, designed to assure continuity of service after SPOT 5 and to supply high-resolution data products (1.5 m). SPOT 6 was launched on 9 September 2012.