Pléiades 1A’s superior agility has enabled it to accomplish the unusual feat of imaging another satellite in flight. Both satellites have been designed by CNES (French space agency) and are operated by Astrium.
The rendezvous took place from Pléiades 1A’s 700-km vantage point when it pointed its sensors at SPOT 5 orbiting 100 km below. An impressive achievement, since Pléiades 1A and SPOT 5 complete an orbital revolution of Earth in just one and a half hours, at a speed of 7.5km/s for Pléiades 1A and 7.4 km/s for SPOT 5.
In the image, SPOT 5’s solar array is clearly visible to the right and the bright spacecraft bus and optical sensors to the left.