PROBA-V Celebrates 10 Years in Orbit

Following the success of the Project for On-Board Autonomy (PROBA) 1 and PROBA-2 small satellites, Redwire’s team in Belgium developed and manufactured PROBA-V for the European Space Agency (ESA). The V stands for vegetation, as the satellite’s mission was to map land cover and vegetation growth across the Earth almost every day.  On May 7, 2023, PROBA-V celebrates its 10-year launch anniversary and 10 years in orbit, surpassing its usable life of 2.5 to 5 years.

PROBA-V is an innovative satellite that became part of the overall capacity for Earth Observation, which helps scientists predict the weather; track biodiversity and wildlife; and monitor and respond to natural disasters. As part of the PROBA family, PROBA-V followed in the steps of its predecessors:

  • It is a technology demonstrator, carrying up to four different instruments to be tested in orbit.
  • It is an autonomous satellite, requiring minimal intervention from ground for daily operations.

PROBA-V spacecraft integration at Redwire’s facility in Belgium. (Credit: Redwire) 

PROBA-V’s primary mission ended June 30, 2020, due to the lack of optimal observing conditions. Because of orbital drift, the satellite could not observe Earth in optimal daytime conditions. From June 2020 until October 2021, PROBA-V continued operations in an experimental phase by capturing test observations in Europe and Africa, particularly the African Sahel, where its results helped provide early drought warnings. It also tested various instrument settings for lunar observations to gather deeper knowledge for future missions

PROBA-V spacecraft on Vespa Adapter ahead of launch. (Credit: ESA/KARIM MELLAB)  

As of today, PROBA-V is working flawlessly, and its onboard computer and four technology demonstration payloads are still operating.

Redwire is proud to support ESA’s PROBA program. Learn more about Redwire’s recent work on the PROBA-3 mission here.

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