Proba-1 Celebrating 20 Years in Space and Still Performing Well
Launched on October 22nd 2001, ESA’s Earth watcher Proba-1 (PRoject for On Board Autonomy) counts twenty years of service. In its time, the small satellite was totally innovative in many ways ranging from technology, over development time and low-cost production to fully autonomous capabilities.
Notwithstanding its advanced age, the technological demonstrator “Made in Belgium” continues to deliver splendid images of our planet from its 600km orbit. Until now, Proba-1 has been supporting several environmental studies of the scientific EO community, including monitoring of forests, urban areas, glaciers, bodies of water, agriculture etc. Today, the small satellite remains fully operational and has become ESA’s longest Earth observation mission of all time.
A real success story in which SPACEBEL is proud to be involved with the development of the spacecraft’s on-board software and the operational maintenance including in particular the successful delivery of a software “patch” to correct the effects of the orbit degradation due to the satellite’s extended lifetime.
Proba-1 has been the first in a series of 100 - 250 kilograms satellites to which Belgium and SPACEBEL in particular have been closely contributing: Proba-2 (Space weather), Proba-V (Earth observation, worldwide vegetation) and Proba-3 (formation flying technology).