SSOT is Chile’s first high-resolution operational Earth observation system. This agile satellite, also known as “FASat Charlie,” was built by Airbus Defence and Space in Toulouse and launched in 2011.

The fifth birthday of a success story

Airbus Defence and Space developed the SSOT (Sistema Satelital de Observación de la Tierra) Earth observation system for the Chilean government in order for Chile to access extremely high-quality satellite images. In Chile, the spacecraft is better known as "FASat-Charlie".

This imagery is exploited in a wide range of applications such as mapping, agriculture, urban planning, military intelligence and natural resource, risk and disaster management.

The high-resolution optical observation satellite is based on the AstroBus-XS platform, originally developed jointly by Airbus Defence and Space and the French national space agency CNES. The complete system was built, integrated and tested by Airbus Defence and Space in our facilities in Toulouse, France.

The SSOT satellite was launched aboard a Soyuz rocket from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on 16 December 2011.

SSOT: an invaluable support to the Chilean air force

The SSOT programme is a result outcome of the Chilean Air Force’s (FACh) ambition to develop a national spatial capacity for Earth observation for a dual use: defence and sustainable development of Chile.

The NAOMI optical instrument has a panchromatic resolution of 1.45 metres, an unprecedented performance for a satellite weighing only 117 kg.

Airbus Defence and Space was the prime contractor for the complete system including the satellite, the Ground Control Segment and the Image Ground Segment located in Santiago, Chile. This infrastructure enables the Chilean authorities to control and operate their own satellite from their National territory. As part of the cooperation agreement, 20 Chilean engineers benefited from a comprehensive training programme. During the construction of the satellite, they worked alongside Airbus Defence and Space’s development team in Toulouse, France, where they were trained.

The satellite launch was also part of Airbus Defence and Space’s responsibilities.

"Airbus Defence and Space is proud to have developed and delivered a powerful Earth observation satellite to the Chilean authorities and to have done so in optimum conditions, with performance matching perfectly the requirements and even exceeding the customers’ expectations"

François Auque, Former Airbus Defence and Space CEO

A privileged partnership with Chile

Chilean engineers benefited from our overall training approach:

  • Technical and academic training
  • On-the-job training
  • Knowledge and know-how transfers

Active participation of Chilean engineers throughout all development phases:

  • Design
  • Assembly, Integration and testing (AIT)
  • Launch
  • System Operation

The construction of a complex ground segment was also part of our packaged offer:

  • Ground control station
  • Bi-band antenna station
  • Image processing center
  • Related infrastructure

Our comprehensive solution included a full spectrum of services for a successful in-orbit delivery of the satellite:

  • Launcher procurement
  • Launch campaign
  • Launch insurance
  • Early in-orbit operations

See also


Pléiades Neo

First-rate performance for trusted intelligence



Very-high-resolution Earth observation satellite built for the government and Space Agency of Peru


Vietnam’s first remote sensing satellite