May 09, 2013

PROBA-V: to be used for global Vegetation monitoring

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07 May 2013 – Proba-V, a small satellite-based earth observation system for vegetation studies, developed by QinetiQ, launched today.

Developed by QinetiQ Space for the European Space Agency (ESA), the state-of-the-art Proba satellite platform, Proba-V, launched at 04:06am on 7th May (Europe CEST) from Kourou, French Guiana.

During the five year mission, the miniature Earth-observer will enable vegetation visibility for a number of institutions and the ability to build applications to study agriculture and crop growth, deforestation, vegetation change, as well as the impact of climate change.

The orbit of the Proba platform, and an innovative optical instrument, ensures complete global coverage every two days. The satellite incorporates a wide-angle telescope within its main multi-spectral Earth-monitoring instrument, capable of imaging a 2,250 km swath across the globe. The image strips developed combine to create a complete picture of the earth’s vegetation data at 350 m resolution.

Leo Quinn, Chief Executive at QinetiQ, said: “This is another landmark achievement for the QinetiQ Space Team and after four years of work we are extremely proud to see the launch of this highly innovative minisatellite. The Proba-V mission highlights QinetiQ Space’s end-to-end mission capabilities, from technology development to management of the flight segment, and we look forward to seeing the satellites achievements in support of ESA in due course.”

Although smaller than a cubic metre, the satellite also carries a pair of radiation sensors, a fibre optic connector experiment, a prototype radio transmitter based on the semiconductor gallium nitride, and a test receiver to track global aircraft movement. Proba-V will be the world’s first space mission to detect Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast signals from aircraft, building up a global overview of air traffic.

The Proba-V mission is due to end in July 2018.

QinetiQ is a world leader in deploying sophisticated technologies, delivering robust solutions for deep space exploration, space and near space communications, navigation and earth observation. Customers include NASA, DoD, ESA, the EU, the UK’s MOD and a wide range of commercial organisations in the global space, aerospace, communications and security sectors.

  • Extreme weather
  • Crop failures
  • Deforestation
  • Desertification
  • Inland water resources

The data adds to the collection of images taken by two older satellites, SPOT-4, launched in 1998, and SPOT-5, launched in 2002, which is still operational. However, PROBA-V will produce images with a much higher spatial resolution.

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Qinetiq