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RapidEye constellation retirement

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24 Jan 2020

Keywords: RapidEye
Proba-V Vegetation
Since filling in the late 1990s, the Toshka Lakes in southern Egypt have fluctuated wildly due to changes in rainfall over the Nile River Watershed. These changes are visible in complex fossil shorelines in the dry lake-bed. These RapidEye images show the changes in one of the lakes from 9 January 2011 to 28 February 2019. (c) 2011 and 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

After 11 years in operation, surpassing a design lifetime of 7 years, the RapidEye constellation will be retired in March 2020.

The satellite operator, Planet, has chosen to retire the five satellites proactively and facilitate a transition from RapidEye imagery to the Next-Generation PlanetScope products, which provide higher spatial resolution as well as continuity with the Red, Green, Blue, Near Infrared and Red-Edge bands provided by RapidEye.

Thanks to ESA's Earthnet Third Party Missions programme, RapidEye imagery has supported an incredibly large number of research and development projects in Europe and around the world. Planet remains the steward of RapidEye's vast archive of imagery which consists of more than 15 billion square kilometres that will continue to be available to European researchers.

Recently, the Earthnet programme initiated the assessment of very high resolution data acquired by the 15-satellite SkySat and over 120-satellite PlanetScope constellations. A dedicated announcement of opportunity will be issued by ESA in the coming weeks to allow researchers to test the suitability of this data for science and applications.

RapidEye data has also been used in the framework of the Copernicus Data WareHouse as a Contributing Mission since its launch in 2008. The data contributed to covering parts of Europe and they have proved instrumental for a wide number of Copernicus activities. The RapidEye mission will be available for new rush tasking (e.g. in support to the Copernicus Emergency and Security Services) until 28 February, for tasking orders to be fulfilled until 31 March.

Meanwhile, Planet is currently finalising the interfaces to the Copernicus Data WareHouse that will allow the seamless integration of the SkySat and PlanetScope constellations. A dedicated announcement will follow about the availability of these missions.