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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Pléiades 1a in orbit

December 20th, 2011 by Susan Smith

On December 16, 2011, Soyuz launched the Pléiades 1a satellite from the Guiana Space Centre (CSG), a new version of the satellite that flew in October. The Pléiades 1a was built by Astrium for the French space agency CNES.

This launch heralds a new success for ESA, CNES and Arianespace, who jointly manage the CSG, after its first flight from the launch base on 21 October 2011. The launcher lifted off at 02:02:30 UTC and satellite separation occurred at 02:58 UTC over Perth, Australia. Thirty seconds later the satellite’s solar panels deployed.

Pléiades 1a is now on the way to its final orbit at an altitude of 700 kilometres, where it will later be joined by Pléiades 1b, operating in the same orbit but phased 180° from its twin to form a constellation capable of revisiting any
point on the globe every day.

Those who are working in emergency services agencies will be interested to know that the Pléiades constellation offers new services delivering precise geospatial information in record time with some startling capabilities that are cutting edge in the Earth-imaging industry. The Pléiades system is tailored to the needs of real-time applications, able to acquire 450 images every day by each satellite, 5 acquisition scenarios and 3 daily tasking plans.

Pléiades products are marketed by Astrium GEO-Information Services and will be available from March 2012.

According to press materials, the first of a new generation of satellites operated by Astrium Services, Pléiades 1a will be followed  by SPOT 6 between 2012 and 2014, its twin Pléiades 1b and finally SPOT 7.  This constellation of 4 satellites is designed for greater  responsiveness and availability of 50-centimetre-to-2-metre products through to 2023.

Check out this video of the launch:

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Category: satellite imagery

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