The Micro-Satellite VENµS, the world’s smallest environmental satellite, designed and built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Rafael, in collaboration with the French National Center for Space Studies (CNES), on Wednesday morning was shot into space from the launching pad in French Guiana. France’s Guiana Space Center is located near the equator, using the Earth’s rotation to add to the initial launch velocity.
The VENµS satellite has a scientific and a technological mission, with the scientific mission requirements defined by Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la BIOsphère, in France, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, in Israel, and CNES; and the technological mission requirement defined by Rafael. The satellite has a 2-day revisit orbit which allows constant viewing angles at constant sun lighting angles. The unique combination is expected to help the development of new image processing methods. About 50 points of interest around the world have been chosen for scanning throughout the scientific mission. The VENµS will rescan these points every 2 days for the duration of the mission, collecting sensory and imagery data.