The French space agency CNES handed over responsibility for commercial operation of SPOT 5 to SPOT IMAGE, which will be distributing imagery acquired by the new satellite worldwide. After being placed in orbit by an Ariane 4 launcher on 4 May 2002 from the Guiana Space Centre, Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, SPOT 5 has successfully completed two months of in-orbit tests and is now fully operational. Since being placed in orbit, SPOT 5 has already acquired 23, 000 scenes.
Tests performed during in-orbit checkout have shown that:
SPOT 5 offers unrivalled acquisition capability with its HRG instruments, offering a wide imaging swath of 60 km x 60 km or 60 km x 120 km at a resolution of 2.5 meters, and its HRS instrument, which supports operational production of high-accuracy digital elevation models (DEMs).
The other satellites in the SPOT constellation – SPOT 1, SPOT 2 and SPOT 4 – are still functioning, with SPOT 1 as an on-orbit spare ready to resume operation if necessary.