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Defence and Space

Airbus Logo

Defence and Space

Airbus Logo

Defence and Space


VHR2021, a European Satellite-based Coverage to Support Copernicus


Airbus and its consortium partner GAF AG have been selected by the European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) to provide the Copernicus Earth Observation Programme with very high-resolution satellite-based coverage of Europe for 2021.

Combining skills, experience and expertise, the consortium will optimise the acquisition of data using a unique fleet of satellites. Alongside the Airbus optical satellite constellation consisting of Pléiades, SPOT and Vision-1, the consortium will leverage Deimos, SuperView, WorldView, GeoEye, Kompsat and TripleSat satellites to support this project.

The consortium will provide over six million square kilometres of freshly acquired very high-resolution, high-accuracy satellite ortho-images for the reference year 2021. Importantly, all imagery will be both cloud-free and cloud-shadow free. Resampled at 2m or 4m resolution depending on the sensor, a total of 11,686 (25 km by 25 km) imagery tiles will be provided in one single ready-to-use format. This coverage was last updated for the Copernicus Earth Observation Programme in 2018, as part of the VHR2018 Airbus-led project.

Once delivered, the data will feed Copernicus geoinformation services and in particular the Land Monitoring Service (CLMS) activities coordinated by the European Environment Agency. CLMS helps European institutions and governments understand the shape and trend of Europe’s land mass and implement their environmental and land management policies. To support this endeavour, the VHR coverage constitutes a valuable element for various thematic layers and analyses, providing a complete situational picture of Europe’s land and environmental conditions every three years.

Tasking for the programme began over continental Europe on 1st May and will end in the autumn. We aim to cover all 39 countries before the end of 2021.

Stay tuned to follow our progress.


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