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SPOT Earth surface satellite observation system (Satellite Pour L’Observation de la Terre) is engineered by the National Space Agency of France in cooperation with Belgium and Sweden. SPOT includes a number of space-based and ground facilities intended for satellite control, data collection programming, data acquisition and image drawing. SpotImage Company (France) is an operator of the satellite.

SPOT-2 was launched on January 21, 1990 in sun-synchronous orbit at the height of 825 km. SPOT-4 spacecraft was launched on March 24, 1998 and placed in sun-synchronous orbit with altitude of 822 km.

In contrast to previous SPOT satellites, SPOT-4 has an additional short-wave infrared band which allows detecting surface type. SPOT-4 is also equipped with VEGETATION1 radiometer, jointly engineered by European Union, Belgium, Italy and Sweden. Estimated period in orbit is 5 years at least.

SPOT-2, 4 satellite imagery applications:

  • Creation and refreshing of topographical maps and special plans up to 1:100000 scale.
  • Refreshing of the topographical backdrops to other layers of mapping for the generation of metropolitan and constituent entities of the Federation region planning layouts.
  • Forest using control and strategic monitoring of the forest health..
  • Monitoring and forecasting of the crops.
  • Ecological monitoring.
  • Monitoring and forecasting of bogginess, desertification, solidification, karsts, erosion, forest and grass fires, flooding etc.

Basic characteristics:

Launch date: January 21, 1990 (SPOT-2); March 24, 1998 (SPOT-4)




Vegetation 1 (SPOT-4)

Spectral bands (mkm):



green: 0.50-0.59

red: 0.61-0.68

near IR: 0.78-0.89

middle IR: 1.58-1.75(only for SPOT-4)





Spatial resolution

10 m

20 m

1 km

Swatch Width

60 km (at nadir)

60 km (at nadir)

1000 km and 2000 km

Radiometric resolution:

8 bits per pixel

8 bits per pixel

10 bits per pixel

Revisit time:


Revisit time:

26 days (at nadir)