New civilian observation satellite nearly ready for launch

January 30, 2002

Brussels, 28 January 2002

Engineers from France, Sweden and Belgium are currently preparing for the launch of what they describe as the most powerful civilian observation satellite ever constructed.

Spot 5, due to be launched in April, will be used to monitor natural disasters, as well as to survey crops and forests for planning purposes. It will be able to identify an object the size of a car from over 800 kilometres above the Earth's surface, and will produce images which are five times clearer than those currently available

'We will be able to contribute to the planning of motorways or roads in difficult areas. We will be able to survey forest fires. We will be able to survey the effects of floods, landslides and earthquakes,' project manager Michel Siguier said.

The satellite is being developed by the aerospace company Astrium for the French National space studies centre (CNES). It will be launched by the European space agency's (ESA) Ariane rocket in Kourou, French Guiana.

For further information, please consult the following web address: http://www.esa.int

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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