Pleiades 1B satellite successfully launched

By on 4 December, 2012
On 2 December 2012, Soyuz flight VS04 launched the Pléiades 1B very-high-resolution optical satellite from the Guiana Space Centre. The launch marks a new success for ESA, CNES and Arianespace, who jointly operate the launch base, less than a year after orbiting Pléiades 1A. Astrium Services will be the exclusive distributor of imagery from Pléiades 1A and 1B.
Pléiades 1B was released from the launch vehicle at 03h57 near its final 694-km orbit, which it will reach within the next few days. The satellite will be phased 180° with Pléiades 1A on the same orbit to form a true constellation offering daily revisits to any point on the globe.
This daily revisit capability brings added value to users of satellite data products around the world. Being able to generate imagery anywhere in the world every day is vital for quick-response applications. With the Pléiades constellation, conflict and crisis zones or natural disaster areas will be viewable within hours to aid planning of relief and rescue operations.
Daily revisits also allow close monitoring of work progress on civil engineering projects, mining activities and industrial or military operations. And by bringing users twice as much imagery, the Pléiades satellites are ideal for mapping large areas at high resolution, as images are acquired twice as fast to increase the chances of obtaining cloud-free views.
Built by Astrium for the French space agency CNES, the Pléiades constellation offers users products at a resolution of 50-cm with an imaging swath of 20-km, the widest in its category.
A constellation of 4 satellites en route to orbit
The launch of Pléiades 1B marks the third step in the formation of a constellation of four satellites combining a double daily revisit capability and a range of resolutions.
From 2014, this constellation will comprise Pléiades 1A and Pléiades 1B, delivering 50-cm imagery products, and SPOT 6 and SPOT 7, designed to assure continuity of service after SPOT 5 and to supply high-resolution data products (1.5 m). SPOT 6 was launched on 9 September 2012.
You can watch a video of the Pléiades 1B launch at

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