The Satellite Imagery Source

Search Image Hunter Now
Posted on April 19th, 2012

Fukushima – One Year Later as Seen by Astrium’s Constellation of Satellites

One year after the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan’s eastern seaboard, the Pléiades satellite operated by Astrium Services acquired high resolution imagery of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Pléiades Tracks Progress

Acquired almost one year after the accident, this Pléiades 1 image of January 18, 2012 shows work underway on a site now hostile to humans. The roof of reactor building N°1 ripped off in the blast is covered by a white structure. The roof of reactor building N°2 was not damaged. Work is continuing to clear reactor containment buildings N°3 and N°4 with the aid of red cranes. The metal-grid roof structures in both buildings are visible, ripped apart by the explosion in building N°3 and burnt by the fire in N°4.

As soon as news was received of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan on March 11, 2011, the full constellation of satellites operated by Astrium Services swung into action to support emergency response efforts across the disaster area.

SPOT 5 Urgent Tasking

On March 12th and 13th, the SPOT 5 satellite imaged 400 kilometers of coastline hit by the earthquake and tsunami.

The images covering the city of Sendai and three nuclear power plants were made available to the international scientific community.

Sendai Monitored

The city of Sendai (population 1 million) devastated by the earthquake and tsunami, was tracked every day by the Go Monitor satellite monitoring service for a full week.

Astrium’s domain experts analyzed 2 meter imagery from the FORMOSAT-2 satellite and posted free daily reports for the user community at

TerraSAR-X Collecting Data for Geophysical Assessments

The TerraSAR-X radar satellite has also been mobilized by the International Charter and is regularly sending data to receiving stations in Europe and Japan where PASCO, our Japanese partner, is using them to assess damage and keep track of the situation.

TerraSAR-X will also continue to acquire data for the next three months in Stripmap mode (3m resolution) of the region around Sendai. These data are suited to post-tremor geophysical assessment work and will be made available to the scientific community.

For more information about any of the Astrium products mentioned in this article, please contact the Apollo Mapping sales team at (303) 993-3863 or

This entry was posted in The Geospatial Times and tagged , , Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    The Geospatial Times Archive