First accomplishment of the RapidEye satellite constellation

[] The RapidEye constellation, composed by five identical Earth observation satellites in orbit since August 2008, has just provided its first, high resolution, images. This positive result should encourage the next step to be undertaken by the satellite operator RapidEye AG which is to propose scientific and commercial services by the end of 2008.
The five identical Earth observation satellites within the RapidEye constellation , which are currently undergoing a three-month commissioning phase and are circling the Earth in a 600-kilometre orbit since August 2008, should provide high-quality optical datasets in the blue, green, red and near-infrared spectral ranges from December 2008. Supported by the Space Agency of DLR (the German Aerospace Center) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the RapidEye project is a public-private partnership, as well as the TerraSAR-X project, which is in orbit since the middle of 2007.
On 21 October 2008, the satellite operator RapidEye AG presented in Brandenburg (Germany) the first image from the RapidEye satellite constellation. This image, covering an area of more than 155 square kilometres at a resolution of five metres per pixel, is the first one to have been recorded by the high-performance camera on board of the RapidEye satellite "Choros".
The next step planed by the RapidEye AG is to offer the first processed datasets on its website for demonstration purposes. The calibration phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2008, by which time the system will be able to meet scientific and commercial demand. Data, products and services with a special focus on questions of land use and land cover will be then provided to interested parties. In addition to the principal commercial applications (for the agriculture, insurance, food industries and disaster relief organisations), other civilian uses have been identified by potential customers.
With regard to the scientist community, data and products can be obtained for research purposes in the context of regular application and evaluation procedures.
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