SPOT-VEGETATION 20 years
The SPOT-4 spacecraft was launched on March 24, 1998, just over 20 years ago. It included the first VEGETATION instrument (VGT-1) with four optical bands to monitor global vegetation at 1km spatial resolution. The ground segment preparations started one year earlier and provided the starting point for VITO’s operational processing and delivery of Earth Observation satellite data, as part of a joint programme of the European Commission, France, Belgium, Sweden and Italy. This week’s image celebrates this anniversary, by taking us back to the very first global, 10-daily synthesis (S10) of 1-10 April 1998. With SPOT5-VGT2 (since 2003) and PROBA-V (since May 2013), the time series of vegetation data is continuing. It has been an interesting journey indeed: from a small team, with just a few computers and less than 1TB of data, up to today’s data centre with 5PB storage, on-demand and cloud processing, used for multi-mission data processing. These capabilities were used in over 15 years of R&D projects, and are still used in operational services, like those for the European flagship programme Copernicus, still called GMES when it was established back in…1998.