Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space’s SPOT 6 satellite qualifies for European Copernicus programme

• Airbus Defence and Space Services SPOT 6 satellite has been qualified by the European Space Agency (ESA) to take part in the European Earth observation programme Copernicus

• The images captured by SPOT 6 are now available to all users of Copernicus (previously known as GMES, or Global Monitoring for Environment and Security)

• SPOT 6 thus joins five other Airbus Defence and Space Services satellites qualified to date: SPOT 5, Pléiades 1A & 1B, TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X

13 November 2013 Airbus Defence and Space, the world’s second-ranking space company, has announced that Airbus Defence and Space’s SPOT 6 high-resolution satellite has been qualified by the European Space Agency (ESA) to take part in the Copernicus Earth observation programme.

Copernicus – known as GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) when it was founded in 1998 by the European Union and ESA – aims to provide a series of data obtained by observation satellites and in-situ measurement instruments, in order to produce a comprehensive global view of the state of our planet.

The qualification of SPOT 6 for Copernicus intensifies Airbus Defence and Space’s role in the programme, bringing to six the total number of Airbus Defence and Space satellites qualified so far by ESA.

SPOT 6 and its future sister SPOT 7 belong to a new generation of satellites operating in constellation with a considerably increased image-acquisition success rate, owing to both their agility and their capacity for regular daily updates on programming plans and weather forecasts.

Such performance is a genuine asset for managing natural disasters and humanitarian crises. These new generation satellites are also capable of acquiring wide-area imagery, which is necessary for the deployment of environmental services on a continental and local scale, capturing images at a resolution of 1.5 metres.

Airbus Defence and Space’s contributions to Copernicus include operating the optical and radar-based satellites – SPOT 5, Pléiades 1A & 1B and TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X – that supply data for Copernicus services. Airbus Defence and Space is also playing a major part in the construction of the Sentinel satellites that will complement the data from the Copernicus Contributing Missions, while Airbus Defence and Space provides important services upstream of Copernicus.

The European programme is designed to assist with the preparation of national, European and international legislation relating to the environment – particularly climate-change legislation – and to ensure it is applied correctly.

Funded by the European Commission, it allows member states’ European, national, regional and local institutions to access environmental data and services for the purposes of environmental protection, land-use management, sustainable development, security and risk management. The information services offered by Copernicus can be divided into six main thematic areas: land, marine, emergency management, atmosphere, security and climate change.

The Pléiades 1A & 1B and SPOT 6 & 7 satellite constellations represent a major renewal of Airbus Defence and Space’ sensor capability and allow the company to ensure continued implementation of the European Union’s environmental policies within the framework of Copernicus’ services.


About Airbus Defence and Space

Together, pioneering excellence

Airbus Defence and Space is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the second in the world. It is the only global company that covers the full range of civil and defence space systems, equipment and services.

In 2012, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover over €5.8 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide.

Its three business units are: Airbus Defence and Space, the European prime contractor for launchers, orbital systems and space exploration; Airbus Defence and Space, a leading provider of satellite system solutions, including spacecraft, ground segments, payloads and equipments; Airbus Defence and Space, the Space services partner for critical missions, providing comprehensive fixed and mobile solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.

Airbus Defence and Space is a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2012, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of €56.5 billion and employed a workforce of over 140,000.


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Jeremy Close                                                               Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872

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