NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive Header




The SPOT-A (Systeme Probatoire d'Observation de la Terre) spacecraft is an earth observation satellite with a ground resolution better than that of the Landsat series satellites. The main applications for the images returned by the first SPOT mission are land-use studies, agriculture and forestry resources, mineral and oil resources, and cartography. The three-axis stabilized satellite operates in a circular sun-synchronous near-polar orbit for a design lifetime of 2 years. The spacecraft dimensions are 2 x 2 x 3.5 m and 15.60 m for the overall length of the deployed solar panel. SPOT-A consists of two parts: (1) the bus, a standard multipurpose platform, and (2) the payload. The bus provides housekeeping information and an onboard computer. The payload is mounted on one of the side panels of the bus. It consists of two identical high-resolution visible (HRV) imaging instruments and a package comprising two magnetic-tape data recorders and a telemetry transmitter. The HRV imaging instrument observes in three spectral bands (in the visible and near infrared regions) with a ground resolution of 20 m, and/or in a broader spectral band (panchromatic black and white) with a ground resolution of 10 m. The pattern of successive ground tracks is repeated exactly at 26-day intervals. The SPOT-A instrument package has the provision for off-nadir viewing which should be particularly useful for monitoring localized phenomena evolving on a relatively short timescale. It also provides the capability for recording stereoscopic pairs of images of a given area during successive satellite passes.

Alternate Names

  • 16613
  • SPOT-A
  • SPOT1

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1986-02-22
Launch Vehicle: Ariane
Launch Site: Kourou, French Guiana
Mass: 1750 kg

Funding Agency

  • Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (France)


  • Earth Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Michel CourtoisProject ManagerCentre National d'Etudes Spatiales
[] NASA Logo -