The first two Pléiades Neo satellites are qualified and ready for launch – despite covid challenges and in line with what we promised four years ago. They are in final preparation for their departure to the Guyana Space Centre, with launch now planned with Vega, in early 2021.

Why Pléiades Neo?

Where everything started

What is Pléiades Neo?

The satellites and ground segment

Entirely financed, manufactured, owned and operated by Airbus, Pléiades Neo is a breakthrough in the Earth observation domain that will bring customers top-level service over the coming decades.

The Pléiades Neo constellation comprises four identical and very agile satellites, whose resources are 100% commercially available. Phased at 90° and operated on the same orbit, the satellites are able to visit any point on the globe at least twice daily. In addition, their reactive tasking ability means they can make urgent acquisitions 30 to 40 minutes following request and respond to the most critical situations in near real-time.

Each Pléiades Neo satellite, based on the Airbus S950 optical platform, will add half a million km² of imagery per day to Airbus’ catalogue, and bring first rate performance:

  • Higher agility  for increased scene acquisition density over area of interest and stereo imaging, thanks to Control Momentum Gyroscopes and compact design
  • Improved availability and faster coverage, thanks to high satellite agility and high rate image transmission Improved tasking and download for better and faster decision making

             - Possible in every orbit (multiplied by 5 compared to Pléiades)

             - Freshest meteorological information taken into account

  • Additional spectral bands: deep blue (bathymetry applications) and red-edge (crop and vegetation monitoring) to cover a wide range of high added-value applications

Thanks to an innovative ground based infrastructure, the associated images will be available straight from customers’ Direct Receiving Stations and through Airbus’ digital platform OneAtlas. Using big data cloud technologies for flexible, scalable storage and a searchable data archive, combined with data fusion from different sources, Pléiades Neo will facilitate development of next-generation analytics.

Pléiades Neo key features

  • Constellation of 4 identical satellites delivering 30cm resolution
  • First two satellites planned for launch early 2021, and second batch in Q2 2022
  • First European satellite constellation at this resolution
  • Resource entirely dedicated to the commercial market
  • Acquisition capacity of 2m km² per day (with 4 satellites)
  • Intraday revisit capacity anywhere on Earth (at least twice a day)
  • Satellites equipped with Laser Communication Terminals through the SpaceDataHighway (EDRS)
  • Complementarity with the overall Airbus constellation of optical and radar sensors

Customer benefits

The complete Pléiades Neo system has been designed so that the satellites can be tasked on every orbit, up to 15 minutes before polar station visibility. This means Pléiades Neo can meet the most urgent and last minute requests.

The Pléiades Neo constellation will meet a wide range of demanding customers’ needs, from civilian to military applications, offering more detail and fresher information, e.g. for monitoring:

  • Strategic sites: defence, security and Intelligence agencies
  • Commercial activities: such as via parking lots, storage depots, ports, oil production sites
  • Mapping, infrastructure and urban development
  • Maritime zones: greater revisit will allow better detection and tracking of illegal activities at sea
  • Environment: regular and accurate mapping/change detection 

Airbus manages the world’s largest satellite constellation, with radar and optical sensors, with resolutions ranging from 25cm to 22m. Today, Airbus’ fleet comprises 12 satellites plus partner satellites. They will soon be complemented by Pléiades Neo and CO3D, and will offer unrivalled refresh rates for very high-resolution imagery.

Did you knowthat the Pléiades Neo constellation consists of four Airbus S950 optical satellite products? The S950 optical is the premium product in Airbus’ comprehensive portfolio of advanced Earth Observation Satellite Systems. Offering the highest resolution on the market today, coupled with an exceptional agility and geolocation accuracy, it is prime resource for even the most delicate of missions. Read more…