Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space mobilises five satellites to help in locating the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft

Just a day after the disappearance of the aircraft, the very high resolution Pléaides 1A and 1B satellites, the high resolution SPOT 5 and 6 satellites and the synthetic aperture radar satellite TerraSAR-X were programmed to take images of the search zone.

All the data collected has been analysed by Airbus Defence and Space’s maritime experts and provided to the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA). Additionally, Pléiades images were also supplied via CNES, and TerraSAR-X images via DLR, to the Chinese Meteorological Administration who requested activation of the International Charter Space & Major Disasters on 11 March.

Since Sunday 9 March, Airbus Defence and Space experts have been analysing the images taken by the optical and radar satellites. Radar satellites like TerraSAR-X are able to identify layers of hydrocarbon as well as oil slicks or metallic objects floating on the sea. The resolution of the Pléiades 1A & 1B (50 cm after resampling) and SPOT 5 and 6 optical satellites enable identification and characterisation of small objects over large surfaces.

SatellitePléiadesSPOTTerraSAR-X