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About SPOT 3

SPOT 3 (Satellite pour l'Observation de la Terre) was a commercial Earth-imaging satellite from CNES (Centre National D’Etudes Spatiales), the French Space Agency. It was launched on 26 September 1993 and ceased operations after a malfunction in November 1996. SPOT 1, 2 and 3 were identical.

Mission Parameters
Orbit Height832 km
Orbit TypeSun-synchronous
Orbit Inclination98.7°
Orbit Duration101 mins
Repeat Cycle26 days

SPOT 3 Objectives

SPOT 3, like all the SPOT missions, was aimed at supplying high-resolution, wide-area optical imagery. This was designed to improve the knowledge and management of Earth's resources, detecting and forecasting phenomena involving climatology and oceanography, and monitoring human activities and natural phenomena.

SPOT 3 Instruments

High-Resolution Visible (HRV)

Two identical HRV (High Resolution Visible) imaging instruments on SPOT 3 provided data at 10 metre spatial resolution and were able to operate in two modes panchromatic mode and 20 metre (multispectral mode) with a swath of 60 km simultaneously or individually.

The HRV had an oblique viewing capability of 27° on each side of the local vertical.The swath was 117 km2 if both sensors were used simultaneously with a 3 km2 overlap

HRV Instrument Details
TypeHigh-resolution optical pushbroom imager
Ground Sample DistancePanchromatic: 10 m
Multispectral: 20 m
Swath Width60 km
NIR (Near Infrared)
0.51-0.73 µm
0.50-0.59 µm
0.61-0.68 µm
0.79-0.89 µm
Instrument Field of View4.13°
Ground Sampling Interval (Nadir Viewing)Panchromatic: 10 m x 10 m
Multispectral: 20 m x 20 m
Pixel per LinePanchromatic:6000
Swath Width60 km

SPOT 3 Data


Registered users are allowed access to the SPOT 1 to 5 ESA archive through the online dissemination server. The archive consists mainly of imagery over Europe and Africa that ESA has collected through the years.