Earlier this month, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched a Vega rocket into space carrying a new miniaturized satellite known as Proba-V. Despite its diminutive size (<1 m3), Proba-V has a big mission — map land coverage and vegetation growth across the entire planet every two days. To accomplish this feat, the minisatellite is armed with an impressive battery of instruments, including three compact telescopes, visual and near infrared (VNIR) detectors, and a shortwave infrared (SWIR) detector (among others).
To learn more about Proba-V and its imaging payload, I met with Jan Vermeiren, PhD, technology development manager for Xenics, and Raf Vandersmissen, PhD, CEO of Xenics daughter company sInfraRed. Xenics played an integral role in the Proba-V program, developing the SWIR focal plane and associated proximity electronics. Read on for a discussion of Proba-V’s mission, its capabilities, and the imaging technology that enables it.