earth online

About SPOT 5

SPOT 5 (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 4 May 2002 and ceased operations after a malfunction in March 2015.

Mission Parameters
Orbit Height832 km
Orbit TypeSun-synchronous circular polar
Orbit Duration101 mins
Repeat Cycle26 days

SPOT 5 Objectives

SPOT 5, 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 5 had the particular goal to ensure continuity of services for customers and to improve the quality of data and images provided by the previous SPOT missions by anticipating changes in market requirements.

SPOT 5 Instruments

High-Resolution Geometric (HRG)

SPOT 5 had two HRG instruments that were deduced from the HRVIR of SPOT 4. They offered a higher resolution of 2.5 to 5 metres in panchromatic mode and 10 metres in multispectral mode (20 metre on short wave infrared 1.58 – 1.75 µm). Both instruments were able to operate in two modes, either simultaneously or individually; they had a swath of 117 km2   if operated simultaneously with an overlap of 3 km2

The HRG instrument had an oblique viewing capability of 27° on each side of the local vertical.

HRG Sensor Parameters
ParameterPanchromatic BandMS (Multispectral) BandsSWIR Band
Swath Width60km
FOV±2ºFocal length of telescope1.082 m
Oblique viewing angle±27ºHRG size2.65 m x 1.42 m x 0.96 m
HRG mass356 kgHRG power (max)344 W
Telescope typeCatadioptric Schmidt telescope with a spherical mirror (SPOT-4 heritage)
Spectral range (µm)0.48-0.71B1: 0.50-0.59
B2: 0.61-0.68
B3: 0.78-0.89
Detector elements/line12,000 (THX31535 CCD)6,000 (TH7834 CCD)3,000 (TH31903 CCD)
Number of lines2 offset3 registered1
Detector size (pitch)6.5 µm13 µm26 µm
Integration time per line0.752 ms1.504 ms3.008 ms
GSD (Ground Sample Distance)5 m x 5 m single image
2.5 m x 2.5 m dual image
10 m x 10 m20 m x 20 m


High-Resolution Stereoscopic (HRS)

The HRS imaging instrument operated in panchromatic mode and pointed forward and backward enabling it to take stereo pair images to show map relief with scene lengths up to 600 km. SPOT 5 provided imagery with a swath of 120 km2.

HRS Sensor Parameters
Spectral range0.48 - 0.70 µm (Pan)FOV±4º (120 km swath)
Telescope focal length0.580 mIntegration time per line0.752 ms
GSD10 m cross-track
5 m along-track
Detector pitch
6.5 µm
MTF; SNR>0.25; >120Instrument mass90 kg
Instrument power128 WInstrument size1 m x 1.3 m x 0.4 m


Other Instruments

Vegetation-2: With some minor improvements regarding instrument operations, the Vegetation-2 instrument (VTG-2) is identical in its technical specification to Vegetation flown on SPOT 4.  This instrument can cover almost all Earth's surface in a day because of its swath size of 2250 km. It captures reflected light in four spectral bands (blue, red, near-infrared, and middle-infrared).

SPOT 5 Data


ESA offers registered users access through the Online Dissemination server to the following SPOT collections:



Subscribe to our newsletter to receive highlights of recent news from Earth Online