Airbus Defence and Space

Space in daily life Press releases

SPOT 6 joins Pléiades 1A in orbit

• The SPOT 6 Earth observation satellite, built by Airbus Defence and Space, has now been successfully launched
• SPOT 6 will join Pléiades 1A in orbit and will form, in a second time with Pléiades 1B and SPOT 7, a coherent and smart optical constellation providing images distributed by Airbus Defence and Space Services
• With this brand new constellation, Airbus Defence and Space Services, exclusive distributor of the derived geo-information products, will offer unique applications in an unrivalled delivery time

09 September 2012 – Built by Airbus Defence and Space, Europe’s leading space technology company, the SPOT 6 Earth observation satellite has been successfully launched by a PSLV launcher from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in India. It will join in orbit Pléiades 1A, the very high resolution Earth observation satellite with products distributed by Airbus Defence and Space. Both satellites will first work together and will form, from 2014, a complete constellation with Pléiades 1B and SPOT 7, the next satellites on the launch track to complete Airbus Defence and Space full optical constellation.

As soon as they will be validated in orbit, each of SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 will be operated by Airbus Defence and Space and exploited by Airbus Defence and Space in coordination with the two Pléiades satellites along the same orbit. The constellation will offer unique applications, delivering products in an unrivalled delivery time, to Airbus Defence and Space’ customers. Each point of the globe will be seen each day once in high resolution and in very high resolution. Moreover, while SPOT 6 & 7 will provide a wide picture over an area, Pléiades will be able to offer, for the same zone, products with a narrower field of view but with an increased level of detail (50cm).

“With four satellites phased 90 degrees apart in the same heliosynchronous quasi-polar orbit, we will be able to offer our customers geo-information products in record time, in as little as six hours,” said Eric Beranger, CEO Airbus Defence and Space. “With four satellites, we obviously have more freedom in terms of the revisit interval, for better change detection or faster coverage. Users can choose between very-high-resolution data capture at a specific point and high-resolution data capture over a larger area. We can also combine the two, of course. For instance, in case of flooding, SPOT 6 can provide the big picture and Pléiades will bring the focus over the most populated or damaged areas.”

Geo-information plays a vital role in converting the latest geospatial information into reliable economic data. SPOT 6 is just one of the remote-sensing satellites that now enables Airbus Defence and Space to offer the widest range of Earth observation products and value-added services in response to the needs of its customers, particularly in the areas of national and defence mapping, agriculture, deforestation and environment monitoring, maritime and coastal surveillance, civil engineering, oil, gas and mining industries.

SPOT 6 is an Earth observation satellite offering optical high-resolution capabilities. Like its twin SPOT 7, which is slated for launch early 2014, SPOT 6 has a 60-km swath and will serve imagery products with a resolution down to 1.5 metres. SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 will ensure service continuity of SPOT 4 and SPOT 5 satellites, which have been operating since 1998 and 2002 respectively. Moreover, both ground and space segments have been designed for improved performances compared to previous SPOT missions, especially in term of reactivity -from satellite tasking to product delivery- and collection capacity. The constellation SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 will actually provide a daily revisit everywhere on Earth with a total coverage of 6 million km² per day.

SPOT 6 and 7 will have a service life of 10 years.

For more information about how Pléiades and SPOT will operate together in orbit see:



About Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the third in the world. In 2011, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover close to €5 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide, mainly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands.

Airbus Defence and Space is the sole European company that covers the whole range of civil and defence space systems and services.

Its three business units are: Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure; Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment; Airbus Defence and Space for comprehensive fixed and mobile end-to-end solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security and broadcast satellite communications equipment and systems, 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 2011, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 49.1 billion and employed a workforce of over 133,000.


Press contacts:

Jeremy Close (Airbus Defence and Space UK)                                                       Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872

Gregory Gavroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR)                                                    Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 51 80 32

Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER)                                                   Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971

Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP)                                                 Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41