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The Proba-V mission provides multispectral images to study the evolution of the vegetation cover on a daily and global basis. The 'V' stands for Vegetation. This mission is extending the data set of the long-established Vegetation instrument, flown as a secondary payload aboard France's SPOT-4 and SPOT-5 satellites launched in 1998 and 2002 respectively. The latter satellite's Vegetation instrument remains operational to this day, and is expected to remain operational until Q1/2015.

The mission, developed as part of ESA's Proba Programme, is an ESA EO mission providing global coverage every two days, with latitudes 35-75°N and 35-56°S covered daily, and between 35°N and 35°S every 2 days. The Proba-V imager's continent-spanning 2250 km field of view collects light in the blue, red, near-infrared and mid-infrared wavebands, ideal for monitoring plant and forest growth as well as inland water bodies. The Vegetation instrument can distinguish between different land cover types and plant species, including crops, to reveal their health, as well as detect water bodies and vegetation burn scars.

The SPOT Vegetation dataset has close to 10,000 registered users around the globe and has contributed to hundreds of scientific papers over 15 years. But with further SPOT satellites lacking the capacity to carry Vegetation instruments, Proba-V has been designed to meet the future needs of this group.

The Proba-V mission has been developed in the frame of the ESA General Support Technology Program (GSTP). The Contributors to the Proba-V mission are Belgium, Luxembourg and Canada.

The ESA Earth Watch Programme provides 1km data, which is complemented by a National Programme supplying products at 300m/600m resolution (available as ESA Third Party Mission).

More information can be found on the ESA website and VITO website.

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Proba-V maps world air traffic from space

07 May 2015

As ESA's Proba-V works quietly on its main task of monitoring vegetation growth across Earth, the minisatellite is also picking up something from a little higher: signals from thousands of aircraft.

Proba-V 100 m products now publicly available

13 March 2015

VITO has announced that Proba-V 100 m products are now publicly available as 1-day and 5-day syntheses from their Product Distribution Portal.

The 100 m products will open new possibilities for global and regional environmental monitoring, as well as for agricultural applications where information at parcel level becomes available.

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Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

This 100 m Proba-V image of 1 April 2015 shows - from west to east - the Galápagos islands of Fernandina, Isabela, San Salvador, and Santa Cruz. The volcanic craters on the westernmost islands, with La Cumbre on Fernandina having erupted in April 2009, are clearly visible.

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The objective of the Proba-V Mission is to provide multispectral images to study the evolution of the vegetation cover on a daily and global basis, in continuation of the Vegetation instrument on board SPOT-4 and SPOT-5.

The data produced by Proba-V cover operational information needs related to:

  • Environmental & agro-climatic conditions
  • Effects of extreme events as drought and floods
  • Natural resources (soil, water, rangeland)
  • Crop and livestock production; prevalence of diseases
  • Desertification
  • Etc.

This information can in turn be used in a socio-economic context (trade and markets; consumer prices; food intake; nutrition and health status, demographics) or for preventing/mitigating food scarcity events. Examples of current operational use of the SPOT-VEGETATION data are e.g.:

  • the GMFS service under the Copernicus Service Element of the EW programme
  • The Geoland-2 Copernicus Service project
  • The Copernicus downstream Service MS-Monina
  • The National Service UK Forestry Commission
  • MARS project in JRC

The mission has been designed to meet the user requirements expressed by an International User Committee (IUC), incorporating representative users of the current SPOT-VEGETATION missions.

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Proba-V is a miniaturised ESA satellite tasked with a full-scale mission: to map land cover and vegetation growth across the entire planet every two days. It is the latest in ESA's Proba series of minisatellites, among the smallest satellites launched by the agency - each one less than a cubic metre in volume.

It operates on a sun-synchronous near polar Earth orbit at about 820 km guaranteeing the required swath of 2250 km with an instrument field of view of 102 degrees, compatible with the geographical coverage.

The Proba-V satellite carries a new Vegetation instrument, as single operational payload.

In the frame of the In Orbit Demonstration, the Proba-V platform also flies 5 technological payloads:

  • A X-Band transmitter based on the new GaN RF amplifier
  • An Energetic Particle Telescope (EPT), demonstrating a new type of radiation monitoring sensors and acquisition system
  • An Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver, demonstrating potential air traffic surveillance from LEO satellites
  • A SATRAM radiation monitoring system, complementing EPT
  • HERMOD (fibre optic connectivity in-situ testing)

The main satellite features are listed below:

Satellite Features Information
Launch 07 May 2013 on Vega (ESA's small launcher)
Satellite lifetime 2.5 years including 6 months commissioning and calibration, with possible extension for another 2.5 years (depending on initial orbit insertion accuracy)
Orbit Type Polar Earth Sun-synchronous
Orbit Period 101 min
Orbit Inclination 98.73°
Repeat Cycle N/A
Orbit Altitude 820 km
Equator Crossing Time Initial LTDN between 10:30 and 11:30
Mass 140Kg
Dimensions 1 cubic metre
Instrument Vegetation instrument
Guest payloads
  • Gallium nitride amplifier incorporated in communication subsystem
  • Energetic Particle Telescope
  • SATRAM radiation monitor
  • ADS-B aircraft signal detector
  • Fibre optic photonics experiment
On board data recorder 160 Gbit mass memory
Data rate S-Band (for control and monitoring):
  • Uplink: 64 kbps
  • Downlink: 250 kbps
X-Band downlink (for payload data) 40 Mbps
Owner ESA