On 7th May, e2v high performance image sensors were launched into space on board Proba-V, an Earth observation microsatellite operated by ESA which has been specifically designed to chart global vegetation. The satellite was carried into orbit from French Guiana by VERTA 1, the second Vega launcher.
For almost 15 years the vegetation instruments on board the Spot 4 and 5 Earth observation satellites have monitored and mapped worldwide vegetation, providing essential information on crops, droughts, desertification, changes in vegetation and deforestation. These instruments will become unavailable later this year and, whilst ESA's Sentinel 3 satellites will eventually take over the supply of this information, they will not be operational in time to take over. ESA has therefore specifically designed Proba-V, which is equipped with a miniature version of the vegetation sensor that is on board Spot 5, to chart global vegetation every two days and provide a continuity of service to the community of more than 10,000 users.
The Proba-V project is funded by the European Space Agency and the General Support Technology Programme, with QinetiQ Space as the mission prime and OIP Sensor Systems in Belgium as the prime contractor for the payload onboard. They designed and developed PROBA-V's instrument which is equipped with an e2v AT71547 Charged Coupled Device (CCD) image sensor. This particular sensor is made up of four lines of 6000 pixels each and benefits from a long space heritage, having been used in a number of Earth observation missions. e2v provided a custom solution for this mission by mounting and positioning the window on the image to meet the stringent requirements of this multispectral application.
Jean-Charles Terrien, marketing manager of high performance imaging at e2v, said: "We are very pleased to have continued our successful relationship with OIP and supplied high performance image sensors for the Proba-V mission. We worked closely with OIP to provide a customised imaging solution for the project, which will now help to provide a continuation of service for global users of data on applications such as land, disaster monitoring and the biosphere."