All Systems “Go” for SPOT 7
The SPOT 7 Earth observation satellite, designed and built by Airbus Defence and Space (DS), was successfully launched on 30th June and has started a 3-month in-orbit testing phase before its images are made commercially available.
At 9:52, Indian local time on Monday, 30th June 2014, the PSLV-C23 launcher lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in India, carrying SPOT 7, the last element in the Airbus DS optical constellation.
SPOT 7 separated from the launcher’s 4th stage just under 18 minutes after lift-off by the Indian PSLV-C23 launcher.
Initial contact by the satellite with the Inuvik (Canada) ground station at 5:34UT, confirmed deployment of the solar panels and correct emission of control telemetry.
A further contact at 7:25 UT, this time with the Kiruna station (Sweden) showed that SPOT 7’s attitude had already stabilised, indicating excellent launcher injection. The batteries were then already fully charged and the thermal behaviour of the platform was nominal.
The orbital injection operations were optimal, with activation of all the equipment (the GPS, the CMGs, the startrackers and the on-board data recorder). The satellite was thus able to switch to normal attitude control mode as of 1st July.
The first programming plan was loaded on 2nd July and a series of acquisitions began immediately. The first images were received the same evening by the Toulouse station, as well as the next day when the satellite passed within the visibility circle.
A series of manoeuvres began on 3rd July to take SPOT 7 to its final orbit, phased with that of SPOT 6 and Pleiades 1A/1B after about ten days. The optical instrument calibration operations began on 4th July and will continue until mid-September.
The combined programming of SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 in a constellation will start in mid-July in order to carry out real-time testing of their full capacity. This in-orbit phasing will make it possible to provide a daily revisit of any point on the globe and cover wide areas twice as rapidly as with SPOT 6 alone, with a high level of precision, offering a resolution of 1.5m.
Since it was launched on 9th September 2012, SPOT 6 has covered more than one billion km², supplementing the 100 billion km² already available in the SPOT data archive, started nearly 30 years ago. The two-satellite constellation is thus ready to take over and significantly improve the capacity and performance offered by SPOT 5, in operation since 2002 and for which commercial service is scheduled to end during the first quarter of 2015.
Commercial operations of SPOT 7 will start during the 4th quarter of 2014 following the in-flight acceptance phase. The images will be integrated into the Airbus DS portfolio and will also be available through GeoStore.
All Systems “Go” for SPOT 7