During its first two months, the European Space Agency’s Proba-V minisatellite collected more than 5,000 images, 65 daily global maps and six 10-day global syntheses, plus gave us a quick peek at the Olympics.
Measuring less than a cubic meter, Proba-V tracks vegetation growth across the world on a near-daily basis—93 percent of the globe is covered in one day and 100 percent in two days—using its main wide-viewing Vegetation camera. Launched last May, the satellite began its routine working life in early December.
Scientists can use the Proba-V data with confidence, knowing they have been cross-calibrated with its predecessor, the Vegetation sensor on France’s SPOT 5 satellite. The new camera improves on SPOT’s in one important respect: While the first-generation instrument images the world at 1-km resolution, Proba-V’s vision is much sharper. It offers daily near-global coverage at 333-meter resolution with geolocation accuracy better than one pixel. The central 500 km of Proba-V’s 2,250-km field of view is even sharper—about 100-meter resolution in the visible and near-infrared and about 200-meter resolution in the shortwave infrared.
Proba-V’s excellent performance means global products with 100-meter resolution are probably possible in the near future. A future 100-meter-resolution Proba mission now is being studied. The output is processed for the European Space Agency by VITO, Belgium’s Flemish institute for technological research.
Image courtesy of European Space Agency/VITO.