The Pléiades Neo 4 satellite enters service without incident
TAMPA, Fla .– PlÃ©iades Neo 4, the second of four planned high-resolution imagery satellites built and operated by Airbus Defense and Space, entered service on December 15 without a problem resulting in an insurance claim for PlÃ©iades Neo 3.
FranÃ§ois Lombard, head of intelligence at Airbus Defense and Space, said News that PlÃ©iades Neo 4 “meets all the expected performance specifications” since it starts its commercial operations four months after its launch mid-August aboard a Vega rocket.
Pleiades Neo 3, the first of four 30-centimeter-resolution imaging satellites that Airbus plans to put into orbit by mid-2022, entered commercial service in early November, about six months after its launch at board of another Vega rocket.
However, an equipment problem aboard the PlÃ©iades Neo 3 prompted Airbus to file a partial insurance claim shortly after the launch end of April, according to an industry source.
Airbus did not disclose details of the PlÃ©iades Neo 3 issue and Lombard declined to comment on the company’s insurance claim. However, Lombard said the problem, which he would describe only as an “equipment problem”, has not affected the satellite’s ability to meet customer commitments.
“It had no impact on the service [enabling the company to] meet all of our service agreements and commitments, âhe said, adding thatâ there are marginal effects that we could manage âwithin the larger constellation of four satellites.
Airbus Defense and Space has signed more than $ 500 million in imaging orders for the constellation to date, according to Lombard.
The company announced on December 15 that PASCO Corporation, a Japanese provider of geospatial solutions, has signed a distribution agreement with the services constellation in Japan.
Microsoft too recently partner with Airbus Defense and Space on the constellation to give customers of Azure Maps, Microsoft’s geospatial services platform, access to high-resolution satellite imagery and elevation data.
About 95% of orders are made outside the âcountries of originâ where Airbus has an established presence, according to Lombard.
Airbus Defense and Space said PlÃ©iades Neo 4 has successfully doubled the coverage offered by its native resolution constellation of 30 centimeters to approximately one million square kilometers per day.
The last two satellites in the constellation are currently in qualifying testing ahead of their launch on an upgraded Vega C next year, Lombard said.
The four Pleiades Neo are identical to each other except for the laser links that will equip the two coming next year, allowing the constellation to increase the speeds of data transmission for ordering and downloading images.
Airbus Defense and Space says the full constellation will be able to cover the entire Earth’s landmass five times a year, supplemented by synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and an optical spacecraft with lower resolution than the company also operates.
Before PlÃ©iades Neo became operational, the company claims that only the US company Maxar Technologies offered its commercial customers 30-centimeter resolution imagery with its WorldView constellation.