Deimos-1, the first Spanish Earth-observation satellite, celebrates its third anniversary
In the last three years, this 100% Spanish satellite - which is a pioneering craft in its field - has orbited the Earth 15,900 times and recorded 13,700 images.
30 july 2012

Deimos-1 has participated in a number of major international projects, such as the inventory of the world’s tropical forests and the coverage of sub-Saharan Africa. The satellite has also captured images of recent events such as the forest fires in La Jonquera (Gerona), Teide National Park in Tenerife and those in the Autonomous Community of Valencia.

Deimos-1’s operations will be complemented by those of the forthcoming Deimos-2 satellite, which will record images of the Earth with a resolution up to 400 times higher than that of its predecessor.

Madrid, 30 July 2012.  Deimos-1, the first Spanish Earth-observation satellite and the first 100%-privately funded European satellite, celebrated the third anniversary of its 2009 launch yesterday on Sunday, 29 July.  The satellite, which is owned by Elecnor and operated by its technological division Elecnor Deimos, has travelled around the Earth approximately 15,900 times during those three years. This represents a cumulative journey of over 703 million kilometres, which is more than 1,700 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon and almost five times the distance between the Earth and the Sun.

During that time, the satellite has recorded a total of 13,700 large-scale images, covering an area of 1.45 billion km2 - equivalent to 2.8 times the total surface area of the Earth.  These high-resolution images are particularly ideal for obtaining territorial information that is applied in a variety of different fields of activity: agriculture, the environment, climate change, safety, deforestation, management of water resources and supporting the management of crises arising from natural disasters.

Key Projects

Deimos-1’s advanced capabilities have resulted in its participation in a number of major international projects. Currently, and for the third consecutive year, the satellite is taking part in the EU and ESA’s (European Space Agency) GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) programme, covering sub-Saharan Africa. Back in 2010 Deimos-1 was employed on another ESA project, carrying out a complete inventory of the world’s tropical forests.

Additionally, Elecnor Deimos has renewed its agreement with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a second year, to identify and monitor cultivation and harvests in the Contiguous United States.

The recent events that have been followed via the images provided by Deimos-1 include:

  • Major conflagration in the La Jonquera region of Gerona (July 2012)
  • Forest fire in the Algarve, in southern Portugal (July 2012)
  • Fires in the Teide National Park in Tenerife (July 2012)
  • Large conflagrations in the Autonomous Community of Valencia (June-July 2012)
  • Forest fire in Larimer Country, Colorado (USA) (June 2012)
  • Forest fire in Rasquera, Tarragona (May 2012)
  • Floods in Eastern Australia (February 2012)
  • Large volcanic deposits onto the island of El Hierro (October 2011)

It should also be noted that Deimos-1 was the first satellite to provide the United Nations with images of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, thereby assisting the rescue efforts.

Deimos-2, the first Spanish very-high-resolution satellite

The range of services currently offered by the Deimos-1 satellite will be completed by those provided by Deimos-2, which is to be Elecnor Deimos’s second Earth-observation satellite.  The new satellite, which will incorporate a number of significant advances, will be able to capture images of the Earth at a resolution up to 400 times higher than those provided by its predecessor.

A total investment of 60 million euros is anticipated for the development, construction, launch and setup of Deimos-2.

The new satellite’s launch is scheduled for the end of 2013 and will be controlled from the satellite-integration centre in Puertollano (Ciudad Real), which is to be opened at the end of this year.  The antenna will be installed in September, and with this piece of equipment, which has a diameter of nearly 11 metres, the ground team will be able to contact Deimos-2 and also receive data from other satellites, including Deimos-1.