Integration of the ground segment at Spot Image began in October 2008.
The main civil receiving station for the Pléiades system houses a receiving antenna and extensive computing equipment.
This station, which supports data reception, satellite tasking and imaging, will undergo technical qualification tests in February 2010.
Acceptance testing of the second civil receiving station in Kiruna, Sweden, will be signed off in March.
Integration by an industry consortium
The Pléiades ground segments are being integrated by an industry consortium led by the French space agency CNES comprising CS, Cap-Gemini, AIRBUS Group-Airbus Defence and Space and Thales-Services.
This consortium is responsible for integrating industrial systems at four receiving stations: two military control centres in France and Spain, and two civil receiving stations in Toulouse and Kiruna.
Operational qualification will get underway in March, once technical qualification is complete.
This phase has two aims:
first, to ensure consistency of the dual-use system at the four receiving stations;
second, to test the interface between station systems and a new information system at Spot Image that will handle commercial orders and manage production.
Alongside the operational qualification phase, Spot Image is launching a vast training plan.
This will begin with training on Pléaides systems for technical managers, followed by satellite tasking, production and customer service teams.
Pléiades at a glance
Pleiades is a new generation of wide-swath (20 km), very-high-resolution (50 cm) Earth-imaging satellites. Initiated in 2001, the dual-use Pleiades programme comprises two 1,000-kg satellites phased in the same orbit to provide daily revisits of any point on the globe.
Equipped with innovative, latest-generation space technologies like fibre-optic gyros and control moment gyros, Pléiades-1 (PHR1A) and Pléiades-2 (PHR2A) offer great roll and yaw agility. They can acquire imagery anywhere within an 800-km ground strip in less than 25 seconds with a location accuracy better than 3 metres.