Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

Commercial Earth-imaging satellite launched today
Posted: December 5, 2000

The EROS A1. Photo: ImageSat
ImageSat International, N.V. announced today the successful launch of the EROS A1 satellite by a Start-1 launcher, from the Russian Cosmodrome in Svobodni, Siberia. The satellite was launched into a sun-synchronous (polar) orbit at 480 kms above the earth. EROS A1, a 250kgs satellite, is the world's lightest commercial high resolution imaging satellite and is desiged to provide imagery information for a wide range of commercial applications.

The launch took place at 1230 UTC (21:30 in Siberia; 7:30 a.m. EST), and the satellite separated as planned from the START-1 launcher 15 minutes after launch ignition. Communication with the satellite was established immediately at the Company's polar ground station in Kiruna, Sweden after separation from the Launcher, and then again 90 minutes later at completion of its first orbit. The EROS A1 satellite will be commissioned for commercial use in the coming weeks following completion of in orbit testing.

"For ImageSat International and our partners worldwide, this launch is a long awaited, and the most important, milestone we've achieved to date," said Jacob Weiss, CEO of ImageSat International. "EROS A1 is the first in a constellation of global satellite imaging systems that the Company plans to deploy in the first half of the coming decade. With ImageSat's cost effective technology and international partnering strategy, we offer customers an entirely new concept in the commercial imagery products and services."

EROS A1's low-weight ensures maximum agility and stability for optimum imaging capacity and quality at very competitive prices. Sun synchronous orbiting satellites are optimal for applications that involve detecting changes at the earth's surface since they always pass within imaging range af any given location at the same time of day. EROS A1 will cross the equatorial plane at 9:45AM. Future EROS satellite orbits will be staggered, i.e. "crossing times" will vary from mid morning to mid afternoon, to compensate for variable cloud cover conditions at different earth latitudes. The unique ISI multiple satellite system, when fully deployed, will enable users to image any location on earth several times daily.

ImageSat international offers worldwide coverage and near real time Internet access to all imagery collected by its EROS A1 satellite through strategic partnering agreements with a network of 14 Acquisition, Archiving, and Distribution ("AAD") ground receiving, processing and distribution centers. The Company and its AAD partners have implemented a unique electronic distribution system based on the Imagenet® Internet cataloguing, archiving and electronic commerce system. ISI's system will enable users worldwide to search for, order, and receive purchased imagery acquired by the ISI constellation of satellites within a few hours of acquisition. ISI's unique space and ground system strategy will provide the ultimate in timely image acquisition and product delivery for customers worldwide, on a non-discriminatory, cost effective basis.