RapidEye Lands Large ESA Mapping Contract

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WASHINGTON — Satellite Earth observation products provider RapidEye of Germany will use its five-satellite constellation to image the entire territory of 39 European nations by the end of 2012 under a multimillion-dollar contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) announced Oct. 14.

The 19-nation ESA, which in recent years has expanded its mission from providing Earth observation satellites to being a customer for commercial companies like RapidEye, has asked for one-third of the assigned territory to be imaged by November, with the remaining work to be completed by the end of 2012. The resulting images will have a range of ground-sampling distances, or resolutions.

Brandenburg, Germany-based RapidEye hopes to use the contract to “demonstrate within the European Community the quality and speed with which RapidEye can complete such a mission,” Marcus Apel, RapidEye’s manager for European governments, said in a statement.

RapidEye’s medium-resolution satellites can image 4-million square kilometers of territory each day.