23 June 2021
23. June 2021 Space

Breathtaking first images from Pléiades Neo

The very first high precision imagery from the first Pléiades Neo Earth observation satellite has just been unveiled!

Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome, Italy, at 30cm native resolution, by Pléiades Neo 3 satellite

Even before final calibration, the images provide an impressive level of detail. From counting each and every limestone brick on the Egyptian Pyramids, or even the number of people visiting them, to admiring the multi-layered construction of Castel Sant’Angelo across the years, Pléiades Neo reveals it all. Urban areas and modern architectures are not to be outdone, as their sheer diversity is faithfully reproduced in the images over Shanghai, Dubai and Washington DC.

Photo gallery

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Satellites 20 May 2021

Pléiades Neo First Image - Washington DC

United States Capitol, Washington DC, at 30cm native resolution, by Pléiades Neo 3 satellite

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Satellites 20 May 2021

Pléiades Neo First Image - Cairo

Cheops Pyramid, Cairo, Egypt - at 30cm native resolution, by Pléiades Neo 3 satellite

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Satellites 20 May 2021

Pléiades Neo First Image - Shanghai

Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China, at 30cm native resolution, by Pléiades Neo 3 satellite

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Satellites 20 May 2021

Pléiades Neo First Image - Dubai

Ain Dubai, Dubai, UAE, at 30cm native resolution,by Pléiades Neo 3 satellite

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Satellites 20 May 2021

Pléiades Neo First Image - Rome

Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome, Italy, at 30cm native resolution, by Pléiades Neo 3 satellite

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Space 14 June 2021

Pleiades Neo First Image - Tucson

Tuscon, USA at 30cm resolution by Pléiades Neo 3 satellite, copyright Airbus DS 2021

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Space 14 June 2021

Pleiades Neo First Image - New York

Little Island, New York City at 30cm resolution by Pléiades Neo 3 satellite, copyright Airbus DS 2021

Read more

 

Bringing more pixels, more often, Pléiades Neo imagery is set to revolutionise the geo-intelligence market – and the whole story is ‘made by Airbus’ from start to finish. 

In the beginning…

The Pléiades Neo satellite project was born a few years ago when Airbus decided it was time to take a strategic turn. The Earth observation market was quickly changing and new competitors were emerging on the same segment. Airbus has always been at the forefront of this very dynamic market but it saw that staying a leader would take more than just doing what everyone else was doing. It needed to take the plunge and invest in break-through technologies that would set it apart. 

The challenge: deliver the freshest and highest precision satellite imagery available in the world today and make it readily available to all.

Pléiades Neo's highly compact design makes it possible to launch in pairs ©Airbus

Pléiades Neo's highly compact design makes it possible to launch in pairs ©Airbus

High performance satellites

On the satellites, the result is the best of both worlds, with optimal size and state-of-the-art imagery. Equipped with a light weight, latest generation silicon carbide optical instrument, Pléiades Neo delivers imagery at 30 cm native resolution, a clear leap forward compared to the previous generation. 

Encapsulation of Pléiades Neo 3 in VEGA’s fairing © 2021 ESA-CNES-Arianespace/ Optique video du CSG – G. Barbaste

Encapsulation of Pléiades Neo 3 in VEGA’s fairing © 2021 ESA-CNES-Arianespace/ Optique video du CSG – G. Barbaste

Each highly agile satellite will capture up to half a million km² per day of imagery – this represents/is equal/is equivalent to/ the surface of Spain–providing customers with very high-precision insights over the next decade and beyond. The satellites also have inter-satellite links with SpaceDataHighway (EDRS) satellites to enable images to be downloaded in near real time after acquisition. When the need is urgent, acquisitions can be made in just a few minutes following the tasking request, to swiftly respond to the most critical situations.

Getting the images back fast

As with any space system, it’s not just about what’s in space, but also what’s on the ground. And the Airbus ground system has what it takes: multi-mission, large-scale on the fly real time image processing and above all, easy data access from tasking to product delivery. We have developed high-powered big data and cloud technologies that make all the difference – not only enhancing applications in traditional fields but opening up many new applications in analytics, intelligence and developing markets.

Wider benefits

Game changer is a word we hear all too often, but it’s not an exaggeration for Pléiades Neo. Not just in terms of the imagery market, but also because this heralds the arrival of a completely new generation of satellites, systems, services and business models. The lessons Airbus has learnt while developing this state of the art constellation, further refining the silicon carbide technology and optical instrument design that it first pioneered 20 years ago, will enable it to provide even better solutions in all resolutions.

With the first Pléiades Neo now in orbit, joining the world’s largest optical and radar satellite fleet – Airbus is already looking to the future generation of Earth observation satellites. Infrared is the next frontier and our engineers are already working hard on two climate missions. Airbus is ready for the challenge! 

 

For further information on Pléiades Neo click here

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