BackForward Satellite Programme: Satellite Pour l’Observation de la Terre 

Programme details
Programme description
  • Series of five operational satellites, for high-resolution land observation.
  • French programme: CNES responsible of design, development and operations.
  • The platforms are actively stabilised over 3 axes.
  • The design life time is 3 years for SPOT 1/2/3, 5 years for SPOT 4/5.
  • The satellites exploit sunsynchronous orbits around 10:30.
  • The replacement policy is based on launching satellites in sequence, roughly 6 months before the expected end-of-life of a satellite.
  • See detailed description at
Data circulation
  • Selected images are stored onboard and downlinked to stations in Kiruna and Toulouse.
  • Real-time downlink to a network of appointed acquisition stations in X-band.
  • All data concentrated to the Centre d'Archivage et de Prétraitement (CAP) for processing and distribution.
  • For SPOT 4 and 5, data from Végétation are also transmitted in real-time in L-band and processed at VITO (Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek), Belgium.
  • For SPOT-4, data are also conveyed (experimentally) through the Data relay satellite ARTEMIS.
Agencies CNESSpot Image
Programme lifetime 1986 - 2015
Associated satellites and instruments

Note: red tag => no longer operational , green tag => operational , blue tag => planned