The PROBA-V project
The current Vegetation-1 and Vegetation-2 instruments onboard the SPOT 4 and SPOT 5 satellites will only be available till May 2014. For almost 15 years now, these instruments have daily monitored and mapped the worldwide vegetation, thus providing essential information on crop yields, droughts, desertification, changes in the type of vegetation, deforestation, etc. to an ever extending user community.
ESA is currently building the Sentinel 3 satellites in view of the European GMES programme. These satellites will contribute to the continuation of the availability of Vegetation type data but will not be operational in due time, thus creating a major time gap in the data continuity.
Therefore, Belgium decided to build a small satellite mission based on the successful PROBA expertise and using state of the art technology. PROBA-V is designed by a full Belgian consortium. QinetiQ Space nv is the prime contractor, OIP developed the instrument which is composed of a combination of three small TMA telescopes, while VITO developed the user segment (i.e., the processing chain) and acts as Principal Investigator for the mission.
The mission, called PROBA-V ("V" standing for Vegetation) will redress the data gap and will fulfil, -even on its own-, all of the specifications of the Vegetation user community. In that way, it will be a complement to the Sentinel 3 satellites to be launched after PROBA-V.