SPOT - 30 Years of Earth Observation

Picturing a World of Constant Change since 1986
SPOT 30 years - ImagineGEO

On 22 February 1986, an Ariane launcher placed the SPOT 1 satellite into orbit, offering Europe a technological, industrial and commercial project dedicated to Earth Observation. With this launch, a major technological adventure was set in motion.

To celebrate the anniversary of 30 years of SPOT programme, a video looks back at 30 events which shaped our world, seen by SPOT and Pléiades satellites:

Originally, satellites collected right below the track and imagery was made available to users as archive. There was no option for users to choose an area. With SPOT 1, we gave users the option to select their Area of Interest and their options for the first time.

Ever since then, SPOT satellites have been supplying high-resolution, wide-area optical imagery with an incredible reliability. A troop of tasking experts make sure every day that every customer request is covered on time and on spec. This resulted in an archive that contains more than 30 million images, at resolutions from 20 to 1.5 metres.

From SPOT 1 to Pléiades, TerraSAR-X to the DMC constellation, each sensor in Airbus Defence and Space’s comprehensive constellation has contributed increased performance and greater observation capacity, thus further sharpening our competitive edge. Imagery taken by our satellite constellation is a unique asset for applications such as agriculture, cartography, defence, forestry or environment.

Do You Remember?

Wolf Volcano

Wolf Volcano is the highest peak in the Galapagos Islands (1,707m). It is a shield volcano with a distinct upturned soup bowl shape. The first historical eruption was recorded in 1797; an additional ten eruptions have been recorded since then, the last being on 25 May 2015 – seen by SPOT 6/7 two days after the eruption.

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

The Chernobyl disaster was a catastrophic nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. It was one of the first images taken by SPOT 1 after its launch in February.

Enjoy further beautiful images in our Satellite Image Gallery


When it comes to improving lives around the World, Airbus Defence and Space provides you with a unique opportunity to address the key global challenges. We provide what you need – when you need it: wide coverage, fine detail, intensive monitoring, reliable and successful new collections, fresh and extensive archives, premium reactivity, and much more.

The imagery that suits you!

SPOT - 30 Years of Earth Observation