Astrium’s SPOT 6 Joins Pléiades 1A in Orbit
Posted on October 8th, 2012

Astrium’s SPOT 6 Joins Pléiades 1A in Orbit

  • The SPOT 6 Earth observation satellite, built by Astrium, was successfully launched.
  • SPOT 6 joins Pléiades 1A in orbit; and when Pléiades 1B and SPOT 7 launch in the coming months, it will form a coherent and smart optical constellation providing images distributed by Astrium Services.
  • With this new constellation, Astrium Services, will offer unique applications in an unrivalled delivery time.

September 9, 2012 – Built by Astrium, Europe’s leading space technology company, the SPOT 6 Earth observation satellite was successfully launched by a PSLV launcher from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in India. It joins Pléiades 1A in orbit, a recently launched high resolution Earth observation satellite with products distributed by Astrium Services. These satellites will form a complete constellation with Pléiades 1B and SPOT 7 in 2014 – the next satellites on the launch track for Astrium Services.

As soon as they are validated in orbit, SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 will be operated by Astrium Satellites and coordinated with the two Pléiades satellites along the same orbit. This constellation will offer unique applications, delivering products in an unrivalled delivery time to Astrium Services’ customers. Each point of the globe will be seen each day once in medium resolution and in high resolution. Moreover, while SPOT 6 & 7 provide a wide area views, Pléiades offers, for the same zone, products with a narrower field of view but with an increased level of detail at 50 centimeters.

“With four satellites phased 90 degrees apart in the same heliosynchronous quasi-polar orbit, we will be able to offer our customers geo-information products in record time, in as little as six hours,” said Eric Beranger, CEO Astrium Services. “With four satellites, we obviously have more freedom in terms of the revisit interval, for better change detection or faster coverage. Users can choose between high-resolution data capture at a specific point and medium-resolution data capture over a larger area. We can also combine the two, of course. For instance, in case of flooding, SPOT 6 can provide the big picture and Pléiades will bring the focus over the most populated or damaged areas.”

Click the image above to watch a video that shows how the Pléiades and SPOT satellites will operate as a constellation together in orbit.

Geo-information services play a vital role in converting the latest geospatial information (such as medium and high resolution satellite imagery) into reliable and usable economic data. SPOT 6 is just one of the remote-sensing satellites that now enables Astrium Services to offer the widest range of Earth observation products and value-added services in response to the needs of its customers; particularly in the areas of national and defense mapping, agriculture, deforestation and environment monitoring, maritime and coastal surveillance, mining, civil engineering and oil and gas.

SPOT 6 is an Earth observation satellite offering optical medium-resolution capabilities. Like its twin SPOT 7, which is slated to launch early 2014, SPOT 6 has a 60-km swath and provides imagery products with a resolution down to 1.5-meters. SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 will ensure service continuity of the SPOT 4 and SPOT 5 satellites, which have been operating since 1998 and 2002 respectively. Moreover, both ground and space segments are designed for improved performance compared to the previous SPOT missions, especially in terms of reactivity, satellite tasking, product delivery and collection capacity. The SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 constellation will provide daily revisits to everywhere on Earth with a total collection capacity of 6 million km² per day.

SPOT 6 and 7 have an estimated service life of 10 years. For more information about SPOT 6 and 7 and/or the Pléiades constellation, please contact the Apollo Mapping sales team at or (303) 993-3863.


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