December 14, 2012 – SPOT 6 was officially declared “good to go” after the completion of technical commissioning of the AstroTerra system. All satellite functions and performance are nominal, in particular those of the sensing instrumentation, in some cases even exceeding specifications.
The sensor’s agility has been thoroughly tested, imaging large areas in a single pass—acquiring up to 8 contiguous images covering 480 km in the East/West direction—as well as 3 consecutive strips 600 km long.
The system is now fully operational with daily acquisitions averaging very close to the maximum capacity of 250 images a day – that’s 3 million square kilometers (sq km). Images are downlinked on 4 passes over the receiving station in Toulouse, France and 8 passes over the station in Kiruna, Sweden. In the last 2 months of operational testing, SPOT 6 imaged more than 100 million sq km without even operating at full capacity!
Technical commissioning also validated the transfer of system operations from Astrium Satellites to Astrium GEO, including implementation of the corresponding in-house resources and processes.
The satellite is acquiring high-quality imagery and initial feedback from customers is excellent. All that remains now is some fine tuning of image product formats in readiness for the start of commercial operations by the end of January.
So the next update you can expect to hear will be the official commercial availability of SPOT 6 data!