This Day in GIS: May 7 – Launch of Proba-V Satellite

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Proba-V, the miniature satellite was launched on May 7, 2013 from French Guiana.  The “V” in the name stands for vegetation as Proba-V’s role is to capture imagery about the world’s vegetation to be used, for example, for day-by-day tracking of extreme weather, alerting authorities to crop failures, monitoring inland water resources, and tracing the steady spread of deserts and deforestation.

Sized a bit larger than the average household washing machine, the roughly one cubic meter Proba-V will officially replace the aging Spot-5 satellite, which is nearing its end of life, on May 30, 2014.  The one year overlap between the two satellites allows scientists the ability to cross calibrate data collection and provide a consistent time series on vegetation analysis for researchers.

Fully operational since December 2013, Proba-V delivers vegetation products with a spatial resolution of 300 meters (100 meters in the central swath).  Products from Proba-V are available for users via the VITO Earth Observation portal.  Proba-V was launched as a stopgap measure while the Sentinel 3 satellite is being built.

Further Reading

Artist rendering of the Proba-V satellite. Credit: ESA–P. Carril, 2012.

Artist rendering of the Proba-V satellite. Credit: ESA–P. Carril, 2012.

The Nile Delta in Egypt, acquired by Proba-V on 24 March 2014. Credit: ESA/VITO

The Nile Delta in Egypt, acquired by Proba-V on 24 March 2014. Credit: ESA/VITO

From Sri Lanka to the Himalayas. Image acquired by Proba-V on 14 March 2014. Credit: ESA/VITO

From Sri Lanka to the Himalayas. Image acquired by Proba-V on 14 March 2014. Credit: ESA/VITO

Colored vegetation index of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam derived from Proba-V data in 2013. Credit: ESA/VITO

Colored vegetation index of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam derived from Proba-V data in 2013. Credit: ESA/VITO

First uncalibrated global mosaic of vegetation from Proba-V, June 2013. Credit: ESA

First uncalibrated global mosaic of vegetation from Proba-V, June 2013. Credit: ESA


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