The Pleiades constellation will consist of 2 identical satellites capable of imaging Earth at resolutions down to 70 cm. Pleaides forms the optical component of the ORFEO Earth-observation programme. The radar component is being supplied by Italy’s Cosmo-Skymed programme, which already has 2 satellites in orbit.
“The telescope for the 1st Pleaides satellite is currently undergoing final tests,” says Eric Boussarie, Pleiades Project Leader at CNES. “We’re well satisfied because it’s performing even better than expected. Delivery of the telescope on 31 July will be a key milestone in its integration on the satellite.”
Serving civil and military users
Another major innovation of Pleaides is that it will serve both civil and military applications. “The satellite control centre will be located at CNES in Toulouse,” says Eric Boussarie.
“The partner nations sharing military data, Italy and Spain, will each have a mission centre on site. The civil partner nations, Austria, Belgium and Sweden, will be supplied by Spot Image, the commercial operator of the SPOT satellites for the last 20 years.”