Vegetation Instrument onboard Proba-V celebrates 1000 days in orbit

News > Vegetation Instrument onboard Proba-V celebrates 1000 days in orbit >

The Vegetation Instrument, launched on May 7th, 2013 from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou on the second Vega rocket VV02, celebrated on February 1st, 2016 its 1000 days in orbit! Meanwhile 90% of the planned nominal mission lifetime has been flawlessly completed. Based on the still excellent performance of both spacecraft and payload, the Proba-V mission was extended till end of 2018. On February 16th, 2016, the Sentinel 3A mission was successfully launched, closing the gap Proba-V needed to fill after SPOT-Végétation ended. The Vegetation Instrument keeps monitoring the Earth’s surface every day!

Proba-V mission life extension

The European Space Agency (ESA) in cooperation with the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) organized an event dedicated to the scientific and operational exploitation of the Proba-V mission. The event, entitled “Proba-V Symposium”, was hosted in Ghent (Belgium), at the Mariott Hotel, from 26 to 28 January 2016. The data produced by the Vegetation Instrument was the center of attention during this symposium.

The Primary Mission Objectives of the Proba-V mission were as follows:
  • Continuation of Vegetation Products Generation (SPOT 4 and 5)
      o Same spectral bands
      o Daily Coverage of the Earth for latitudes between 35° and 75° North + Latitudes between 35° and 56° South
      o Two-daily Coverage of the Earth of latitudes between 35° North and 35° South
  • Spatial Resolution
      o Mandatory GSD ≤ 1 km in VNIR and SWIR;
      o Goal GSD: 300m in VNIR + 600m in SWIR
  • Local time of descending node (LTDN) between 10:30 and 11:30 am during operational life (LTDN is the time when crossing the equator and thus a measure for the stability of the orbit)

After 1000 space days, we all can be very happy with the results of a very reliable satellite (Proba-V) and payload (Vegetation instrument). Proba-V data is used around the world by almost 100 nations and by over 500 different institutes.
The operations started end 2013 resulted in a nice overlap with the SPOT-Végétation mission and even now with the Sentinel 3 missions, from which the first satellite (Sentinel 3A) was launched on February 16th, 2016.
The Proba-V mission Nominal Lifetime of 2.5 years was extended to 5 years to maximize the overlap with Sentinel 3 and to support novel processing techniques and operational concepts (MEP – Mission Exploitation Platform). This is feasible because of the excellent spacecraft condition (availability 99.9%, high thermal stability) and orbit injection results (represented by the LTDN parameter). The LTDN remained well within the specified limits of 10:30 and 11:30. Predictions state that Proba-V will reach the 10:30 LTDN around end 2017, but will stay well above 10:00 after 5 years, meaning that operations can be carried out without problem until then. Also the payload's performance is excellent, providing useful data around the clock ..

Global vegetation monitoring …
During its Operational Life, the Vegetation Instrument has captured some nice images of the Earth, as well as highlighted some alarming phenomenon such as vanishing lakes, melting icecaps, floods, fires, eruption of volcanoes, …

The latest example was the evolution of Poopó Lake in Bolivia.
In December 2015, Bolivia's second largest lake, Lake Poopó was officially declared evaporated. Lake Poopó is located in the Bolivian altiplano at an altitude of 3700 metres in the western department of Oruro and was the second largest lake in Bolivia. The absence of the vital saltwater environment forces local fishermen and wildlife to move elsewhere.
Occupying a depression in the Altiplano mountains, the saline Lake Poopó has in the past spanned an area of 3000km²- greater than France's Réunion Island. But the lake's shallow nature, with an average depth of just 3 m, coupled with its arid highland surroundings, means that it is very sensitive to fluctuations in climate.
Its official evaporation was declared last December. This is not the first time Lake Poopó has evaporated - the last time was in 1994 - but the fear is that any refilling might take many years, if it occurs at all.

      The three 100-m resolution Proba-V images shown here were acquired on 27 April 2014, 20 July 2015 and 22 January 2016 respectively (copyright ESA/VITO)

Compilation of vegetation images …


Proba-V and Vegetation Instrument milestone timeline …

The Proba-V satellite was launched from the Guiana Space Center, Kourou, French Guiana on the second Vega rocket in spring 2013.

Date   Milestone 
07 May 2013   Launch 
14 May 2013   First light – Bay of Biskay
May - November 2013   Commissioning 
5 December 2013   Start operational mission (handover ESA -> VITO)
May 2014   Proba-V relieves SPOT-Végétation (SPOT-5) from duty
07 May 2014   1 year in Orbit 
07 May 2015   2 years in Orbit 
23 June 2015      Sentinel 2A launched
December 2015   Mission extension to 5 years 
26-28 January 2016   Proba-V Symposium  
01 February 2016   1000 days in orbit 
16 February 2016   Sentinel 3A launched 
December 2018    End of extended mission life 

For more up-to-date information and images, please check the following links:
  Proba-V website by VITO
  Proba-V Symposium website
  ESA Proba-V website

About the Vegetation Instrument:
The Proba-Vegetation Instrument is developed under the authority of ESA and funded by Belgium’s Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO). OIP, as instrument prime, performed the development, testing, calibration and integration of the Vegetation Instrument in the satellite (QinetiQ Space, Kruibeke, Belgium), with the help of following partners: AMOS (Liége, Belgium), XenICs (Leuven, Belgium), DSI (Bremen, Germany) and Centre Spatial de Liège CSL (Liège, Belgium).

About OIP:
OIP Sensor Systems was founded in 1919 and has since always played a pioneering role in emerging electro-optic technologies with main activities in defense market, and since the early 1980’s also in the space market, with instruments flying on Spacelab, XMM, Cluster II, Mars-Express, Venus-Express, Integral, Rosetta, Envisat, Meteosat, Meteosat Second Generation, Herschel-Planck, ExoMars, the Proba-missions (Proba-1, Proba-II and Proba-V).

For more information:
Contact Lieve De Vos, Director Space Department, +32 55 333 836, e-mail  
OIP Sensor Systems, Westerring 21, B-9700 Oudenaarde