The RapidEye Constellation of 5 SSTL-built Earth Observation satellite were launched into a 630km Low Earth Orbit on a Dnepr launch vehicle from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on 29 August 2008. The satellites were designed and manufactured for RapidEye AG, a German geospatial organisation, but the constellation was subsequently sold to BlackBridge and is now owned and operated by Planet Labs.
Each of the 5 satellites weighs 153kg and carries identical sensors imaging in 6.5m GSD, and they travel on the same orbital plane, equally phased.
Over the 10 years of in orbit operations the RapidEye constellation has captured billions of square kilometres of data, providing one of the largest daily revisit commercial satellite imagery datasets in the world. The high quality data is used for agriculture, infrastructure and environmental & social studies.
We will be celebrating the achievements of our work-horse small satellites with the obligatory cake here - many of the staff who worked on RapidEye are still working at SSTL and have some great stories to tell about this challenging, but rewarding, project!