Satellite Pour l'Observation de la Terre

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(French: ‘Satellite for Earth Observation’)

A series of five French remote-sensing satellites designed by the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales and operated by the commercial company Spot Image, which claims the largest commercial market for Earth geographical images from satellites. The satellites' mission includes monitoring crops for the European Union and measuring ozone and aerosols at the polar regions. The data is also used for other environmental studies, forestry, surveillance, cartography, and oil and gas exploration.

The satellites are in a near polar orbit at an altitude of 832 km, and their real-time data is sent to 18 ground receiving stations around the world. SPOT-1 was launched in 1986, SPOT-2 in 1990, SPOT-3 in 1993, SPOT-4 in 1998, and SPOT-5 in April 2002. SPOT-4 has two high-resolution imagers (visible-light and infrared). An image from each sensor covers 60 sq km.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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