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It’s a Bird? It’s a Plane? It’s… New Sensors on Orbit!

Nov 1, 2021

Author: Rebecca Murray 


Not quite Superman’s X-ray vision, but there are new, state-of-the-art “eyes in the sky” keeping track of the rapid changes happening in our world. And, there are even more on the way! The capabilities and bandwidth available with this fresh batch of high-resolution sensors is exponential, delivering greater amounts of 30cm optical and additional 50cm capabilities! The even better news? These additional options for 30cm-50cm imagery will drive down the cost of this data for our clients. 


Pleiades Neo 

The first of this new batch of sensors is Pleiades Neo, which is comprised of Pleiades 3, 4, 5 and 6, and is operated by Airbus Defence and Space. Pleiades 3 and 4 were successfully launched in August 2021, and imagery from these sensors will become commercially available November 2, 2021. The last two sensors, Pleiades 5 and 6 are slated to launch in early 2022. 


Pleiades NEO Satellite Imagery 


Pleiades 1 and 2 were previously launched in December 2011 and December 2012 respectively, and have been diligently gathering 0.7m panchromatic and 2.8m multispectral band ever since. Using a proprietary algorithm, these data are sharpened to 0.5m resolution and deliver excellent 4-band multispectral data. Following their older siblings, the Pleiades Neo sensors will also offer panchromatic plus multispectral bands but with some additional and unique bands not found elsewhere. 

The Pleiades Neo sensors will offer the 0.3m panchromatic band as well as 1.2m deep blue, red, green, blue, near Infrared and red edge bands. These new imagery bands will enable new types of analyses and study previously unavailable at this resolution. The unique deep blue band will have applications in bathymetry and coastal studies. The red edge band will be very valuable for vegetation health and agricultural projects. 


The 30cm archives and collection opportunities are about to explode as these sensors will dramatically increase collection capability and access to the maximum resolution possible from a satellite. In addition, there will be a possibility for intra-day revisits of target sites as well. 



BJ3A is a fresh new sensor recently launched by 21AT out of Singapore. This sensor adds to their population of 0.5m resolution panchromatic + 2.0m resolution red, green, blue plus infrared (RGB+IR) sensors currently on orbit. This is the highest resolution sensor available from 21AT. 


BJ3A Satellite Imagery 


BJ3A will offer a large collection capacity and the ability to collect stereo data to enable 3D data derivatives. BJ3A also offers an impressive swath width of 22 km to enhance the collection capabilities with a 12-bit dynamic range. BJ3A will be a welcome addition to the offering of 50cm sensors currently playing in the sandbox. 

The added capability will increase options for elevation data creation, change detection monitoring, recurring collections and grow the overall 50cm archive. It also guarantees the extension of 50cm data collection for years into the future. 


We have access to all of the data coming onboard and will suggest the best one for your application. Simply email us at 


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