Pléiades 1A returns its first images 3 days after being placed in orbit by a Soyuz launch vehicle on December 17, 2011. Several extracts are now available to the public.
Extracts of the first images acquired by the Pléiades 1A satellite are made available to the public by the French space agency, CNES. These extracts can be downloaded from a FTP site. The precision of the 50-cm Pléiades products are clearly revealed on the urban landscapes of Paris, Madrid and San Francisco.
The first image acquired by an Earth observation satellite is also the moment when, for the first time, the instruments on board and the ground segment are activated. The collection capability, which includes satellite tasking, image acquisition, data reception and pre–processing, is checked from end to end.
«Over the next few months, Pléiades 1A will unveil its numerous innovations. Agility and reactivity are the new terms which now rhyme with Very-High Resolution imagery» declared Patrick le Roch, Executive Director, Astrium GEO-Information Services.
Mid-January when the satellite has reached its final orbit, the first Pléiades product will be released, with 50-cm resolution and 20-km ground swath, the broadest in its class. These features make them the ideal solution for detailed mapping and photo-interpretation.
Marketed by Astrium Services, Pléiades products will be available for all users from March 2012. Users will then be able to take full advantage of the agility and reactivity of Pléiades 1A with its 5 acquisition scenarios, 3 daily tasking plans and acquisition capacity of 450 images per day. After the launch in 2013 of its twin Pléiades 1B, the constellation will be capable of revisiting any point on the globe every day.
Four satellites in the next two years
The launch of Pléiades marks the first step of a four-satellite true constellation combining a twice daily revisit capability with an ingenious range of resolutions. This upcoming constellation, operated by Astrium Services, is based on four satellites: Pléiades 1A and Pléiades 1B, two very-high-resolution satellites delivering 50-cm ortho colour products as a standard, and SPOT 6 and 7, designed to extend SPOT 5’s success to the 1.5-m product family. Phased on the same orbit, the constellation will enjoy unprecedented reactivity, with intra-day revisit capacity in both resolutions anywhere on the Earth. Multiple tasking plans per day result in an unrivalled optimization of data collection: unforeseen weather changes, as well as last-minute requests, which can be taken into account for a first-class level of service.
With now five optical and radar satellites in orbit and three new imaging satellites to launch over the next two years, Astrium Services, through its extensive geo-information range of products and services, is gearing up to bring its customers the best that space technology has to offer, ensuring continuity of service up to 2023.
More on Pléiades: www.astrium-geo.com/pleiades
Dr. Fabienne Grazzini