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RapidEye: First RapidEye Satellite Passes Final Acceptance

The first of the five satellites has completed all extensive pre-launch testing and has been accepted by MDA. Additionally, the last of the payloads consisting of the cameras and all associated electronics has been delivered to the final satellite assembly site in Guildford, UK.

“The fact that all five payloads have been completed is indeed a very important milestone,” says Pietro Widmer of the RapidEye management team. “It’s getting real and exciting”.

The RapidEye system has been highly anticipated by their customers because of its ability to image over 4 million square kilometers of Earth each day in five spectral bands with a five meter resolution. Additionally, the system can image any point on Earth within 24 hours, giving customers extremely up-to-date information about their area of interest.

MDA of Vancouver, Canada is the general contractor for the RapidEye satellite constellation, the acquisition planning and the data pre-processing systems. MDA has subcontracted SSTL of Guildford, UK to develop and test the satellites, and Jena-Optronik of Jena, Germany to construct and deliver the payloads.

For the over sixty employees of RapidEye, and the customers that will rely on this system, these current developments are indeed exciting. Launch of the satellite constellation is planned before the end of this year from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, and the RapidEye constellation is expected to be commercially operational by early 2008.