QinetiQ satellite reaches end of commissioning

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Test period for Earth observation satellite successfully completed


3 December 2013: The test period for the Proba-V satellite, built by QinetiQ, has successfully completed today, marking the end of commissioning and the satellite’s official handover to the European Space Agency (ESA). The earth observation satellite, launched in May this year, is now ready to record and transmit satellite images of vegetation on Earth over the coming years after six months of extensive testing.

Following its launch, the Proba-V satellite quickly entered into a polar sun-synchronous orbit at a height of 820 kilometres above the surface of the earth and has since sent an extensive flow of images down to earth every day since launch as part of testing. ESA will now assume responsibility for all the satellite’s operations from the ESA ground station in Redu and will continue to collect data valuable for studying climate change and to help scientists monitor surface water, manage agriculture and supervise food safety.

Sanjay Razdan, Managing Director of QinetiQ Space in the UK, said; “We are very proud to reach the end of commissioning stage with the Proba V satellite. After a successful launch we have extensively tested the satellite’s technology and outputs to ensure optimal success and are confident that the satellite will provide ESA with all the valuable data it now requires. We look forward to continuing to support ESA on the mission over the coming years.”

Proba-V is the third satellite of its kind to be launched successfully by QinetiQ Space. The first, Proba-1, is a microsatellite for earth observation. Launched on 22 October 2001, it is now celebrating its twelfth anniversary in space and the cameras on board have already taken tens of thousands of pictures of Earth. Its successor, Proba-2, is currently the smallest solar observation satellite in space. It was sent into earth orbit in November 2009 and is now entering its fifth year in space. As well as demonstrating new technologies, Proba-2 also has a scientific mission. In contrast to Proba-1, which has instruments on board for earth observation, Proba-2 is designated to observe the sun.

Notes for Editors:

A FTSE250 company, QinetiQ uses its domain knowledge to provide technical support and know-how to customers in the global aerospace, defence and security markets. QinetiQ's unique position enables it to be a trusted partner to government organisations, predominantly in the UK and the US, including defence departments, intelligence services and security agencies.

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