SPOT 4 innovations,
Innovations at the SPOT 4 operations control centre,
Innovations at the SPOT 4 programming centre,
Innovations at the SPOT 4 archiving and preprocessing centre
Innovations at the SPOT 4 image quality centre.

With the arrival of SPOT 4, the entire Spot system has been extensively upgraded to offer higher performance, impoved operational services and better all-round response to the needs of Spot Image customers.

SPOT 4 innovations

The SPOT 4 satellite underwent a thorough design review and upgrade compared with its predecessors. Among a wide variety of improvements and refinements, some of the most important are:

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Innovations at the SPOT 4 operations control centre

The SPOT 4 satellite operations control centre is called in French the "CMP (Centre de Mise et Maintien à Poste SPOT 4)" ; it is the ground component which tracks and controls the satellite throughout all orbital phases:

The SPOT 4 CMP is another member of the CMP family which includes dedicated operational centres for SPOT 1 and SPOT 2.

These centres are at the CNES site in Toulouse. By sharing facilities a single team can manage continous operation of all SPOT satellites. Naturally each CMP has its own characteristics, depending on the satellite for which it is responsible, but all have the same basic functions.

In fact, each CMP consists of two parts:

The CMP now has a third entity for managing and programming the Vegetation payload. This is the Vegetation Programming Centre (CPV).

The major innovation of the CMPs is increased automation procedures at CCS, CGS and CPV which are performed according to a pre-determined schedule based on satellite rendez-vous with the ground segment (regular, daily passes over the TT&C stations). Each day a CMP can monitor and command a satellite during five passes of about 10 minutes each. These are high points during each day's operational routine, which involves preparing data for uploading to the satellite, interpreting data received from the satellite or exchanging information with outside bodies (the Programming Centre, the Archiving and Preprocessing Centre, …)..

In general, human intervention mainly consists of seeing that these tasks are correctly performed. Of course, in the event of difficult operations (changing the satellite's orbit, uploading a new version of the onboard software, etc.) or satellite anomalies, the operator can always take over very quickly.

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Innovations at the SPOT 4 programming centre

Upgrades at the Programming Centre, based on feedback from programming of SPOT 1, 2 and 3, mean that Spot Image now has an efficient tool to exploit SPOT system imaging capabilities to the full:

Innovations at the SPOT 4 archiving and preprocessing centre

Inventory and scene production capabilities for image telemetry received at Aussaguel or Kiruna have been upgraded significantly with the creation of a new archiving and preprocessing centre (CAP) at Spot Image in Toulouse and at Satellitbild in Kiruna. This means that it is now possible to provide users with products in less than one day when the scene is either available in the catalogue or has been acquired without clouds.

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Innovations at the SPOT 4 image quality centre

Know-how acquired with the first SPOT satellites has made it possible to create an operations centre which image quality experts can use for accurate, real-time performance monitoring.

Moreover the QIS team has been able to use instrument calibrating data (dark images, calibration lamp images, images of the Sun or images of ground calibrated sites) to regularly update parameters for geometric and radiometric processing; these calibration coefficients are sent to all image production centres to ensure imagery of consistently high quality.

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page updated on the 00-06-06