SPOT 6 and 7 satellite imagery now available at SANSA


Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) has installed a SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 satellite Direct Receiving Station (DRS) at the South African National Space Agency’s (Sansa’s) premises, allowing it to download and access imagery from these two satellites.

Via SPOT 6, Sansa can now order new imagery on demand and offer it to government departments to assist with things like planning and environmental and agricultural monitoring. The satellite data also assists with weather forecasting, urban planning and mineral management amongst other things. Sansa previously used SPOT 5 imagery. Since 2006 it distributed satellite data to more than 50 state entities, and since then has released a satellite image mosaic of South Africa on an annual basis.

The SPOT (Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre) 6 and SPOT 7 Direct Receiving Station (DRS) installed at South African National Space Agency premises by Airbus Defence and Space has allowed it to cover the entire country (1 221 000 km²) at 1.5m resolution. The SPOT 6/7 images are now available for ordering from Sansa and new acquisitions are already on-going to support a second country coverage during the rest of 2015, Airbus said. This double coverage within one calendar year ensures improved seasonal data collections. Further, the creation of a 1.5m resolution seamless country mosaic is also planned for yearend.

With the deployment of the SPOT 6/7 Direct Receiving Station (DRS) in 2014, Airbus Defence and Space and Sansa have continued their lengthy relationship which began in 1989 with the SPOT 1 data reception contract, later followed by SPOT 2 in 1990 and SPOT 4 in the late 90s. In 2006 a Telemetry and Distribution agreement was signed for SPOT 5, allowing an annual coverage and the creation of a national mosaic over South Africa.

Thanks to the highly increased acquisition capacity offered by the twin satellites, combined to a higher resolution, the first coverage of South Africa at 1.5 m was acquired in 3 months. SPOT 6 and SPOT 7 are phased 180° apart from each other and form a genuine constellation flying at 694 km. They are each capable to collect up to three million km² per day and have opened up opportunities for many applications, providing the latest images within an unprecedented time frame, Airbus said.

SPOT 6 was launched in September 2012 and SPOT 7 in 2014, with Sansa receiving its license to use the satellites in March 2015.

The South African National Space Agency was established in 2010, although South Africa’s involvement in Earth Observation dates back to 1978. SANSA hosts an archive containing more than 150 terabytes of remote sensing data dating back to 1972. The aim of this data collection is to help improve the livelihoods of communities across Africa.