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Pléiades is the CNES (French national space agency) program designed as the follow-on to its highly successful Spot series of low Earth orbit (LEO) multi-mission observation satellites, which has operated an uninterrupted service since 1986.

The Pléiades-HR satellites are the high-resolution optical imaging component of the French-Italian Orfeo system, for which Italy is supplying the COSMO-Skymed radar component.

The ground resolution of the HiRI (High-Resolution Imager) is 70 cm across a 20 km swath, while a very high degree of agility will allow them to acquire several images successively along track or off track, for mosaicking of ground scenes. The onboard storage capacity has been increased to 600 gigabits and the downlink data rate to 450 megabits per second.

The 1,000 kg satellites have a design lifetime of five years and onboard power capacity of 1,000 W.

Astrium is prime contractor for Pléiades satellite bus, including all functions dedicated to satellite control and monitoring as well as payload data handling and transmission, and is responsible for software development and satellite validation. Alcatel Space is responsible for the high-resolution instruments and image telemetry.

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• Pléiades 1A was launched via a Russian Soyuz STA rocket out of the Guiana Space Centre, Kourou, French Guiana, on December 17, 2011, 02:03 UTC.
• Pléiades 1B was launched via a Russian Soyuz STA rocket out of the Guiana Space Centre, Kourou, French Guiana, on December 2, 2012, 02:02 UTC

The two satellites operate in the same phased orbit and are offset at 180° to offer a daily revisit capability over any point on the globe.

• Orbit: Sun-synchronous, phased, near-circular
• Mean altitude: 694 km.
• Image acquisition anywhere within an 800-km-wide ground strip with sub-meter resolution
• Along-track stereo and tri-stereo image acquisition
• Maximum theoretical acquisition capacity of 1,000,000 km2 per day and per satellite
• Optimized daily acquisition capacity (taking into account genuine order book, weather constraints, conflicts...) reaching 300,000 km2 per day and per satellite.

Resolution Panchromatic: 70 cm
  Multispectral: 2 m
  Pansharpened: 70 cm , Commercial product is being interpolated and resampled to 50 cm to match the USA-based GeoEye-1 and WV-2 Satellites
  Bundle: 50 cm PAN & 2 m MS
Footprint 20 km swath
  Single pass mosaics up to 100 km x 100 km

The satellites are coorbital with the lower resolution SPOT 6 and 7 satellites.

Target Acquisition Mode

Multiple close targets

Detection, reconnaissance, identification
15 acquisitions over 1,000km inside a +/- 30° corridor

Strip Mapping Acquisition Mode

Wide Area

Urban and metropolis mapping
Automatic mosaic production up to 1 square degree

Relief Acquisition Mode

Stereo and Tristereo

For 3D applications, DEM, flight simulation, photovoltaic planning

Corridor Acquisition Mode

Linear target

To monitor a coastline, border, river or pipeline

Persistent Surveillance Mode

Multiple images of a target

To detect moving objects
Trajectory, speed and heading

An entire geocell, over 10,000 km2, was collected over Mexico in one pass of the satellite with all the segments within +/-20°.
The Great Barrier Reef (100 km wide) was collected in a single pass of the satellite
Pansharpened Imagery acquired on the date of 5 Dec 2012 by Pleaides 1B