SPOT 5 successfully orbited by Ariane 4

Press Release From: Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES)
Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2002

On May 3rd 2002 at 10.31 pm, local time in Kourou, French Guiana ( 3.31 am Paris local time or 1.31 am GMT on May 4, 2002) Ariane 42 P launcher successfully placed the SPOT 5 Earth observation satellite into a temporary orbit 20 kilometres below its nominal orbit at 832 km.

The parameters of the orbit are :

* inclination : 98.74° for a target of 98.74°
* semi-axis : 7180.9 km for a target of 7181.4 km
* position on the orbit : 39.6° for a target of 39.7°

Operational teams at CNES’s Toulouse Space Centre will now begin manoeuvring the satellite to boost it to its final orbital position relative to the other SPOT satellites. SPOT 5 will reach its final orbit after a controlled phase lasting several days.

One hour after launch the satellite has been stabilised and is now able to start the in-orbit checkout operations that will be performed over the next two months. This in-flight commissioning will:

  • verify that the satellite, subsystems and equipment are functioning normally;
  • check image and data product quality;
  • ensure that the whole system is operating correctly;
  • refine the instrument and satellite transfer functions used to correct images.

Products will also undergo thematic checks in addition to this technical commissioning phase.

The SPOT 5 programme decided in October 1994 has built on the technical and operational success of the entire series of SPOT satellites and associated ground control, satellite programming, and image reception and production facilities. The new satellite will provide continuity of service through to 2007.

SPOT 5 will bring users continuity of service with previous SPOT satellites. The satellite orbited today is also set to deliver improved performance and unique features. Its two HRG instruments (High-Resolution Geometric) offer ground resolutions as high as 2.5 metres and each cover an imaging swath of 60 kilometres, while the HRS instrument (High-Resolution Stereoscopic) will enhance stereoviewing capability.

SPOT 5 is also carrying two passenger instruments: VEGETATION 2 which will observe global vegetation cover, and the DORIS precise positioning system operated by CLS.

SPOT 5 was developed by CNES in partnership with Belgium and Sweden. Astrium was the satellite prime contractor. Alcatel Space supplied many items of equipment and was prime contractor for the VEGETATION instrument. Spot Image markets SPOT data worldwide.

  Press Contacts

CNES -Eliane Moreaux– phone 00 (33)5 61 27 33 44

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