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Mission type Earth observation
Operator ISA/CNES
Mission duration 3.5 years[1]
Spacecraft properties
Bus ISA[1]
Manufacturer IAI
Launch mass 460 kilograms (1,010 lb)[citation needed]
Power 600 watts[2]
Start of mission
Launch date 2016[3]
Rocket Vega
Launch site Kourou
Contractor Arianespace
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Sun-synchronous 2 day Earth repeating
Perigee 720 km (first phase) / 410 km (second phase)
Apogee 720 km (first phase) / 410 km (second phase)
Inclination 98.27 degrees[1]
Name Ritchey-Chretien telescope[2]
Type Cassegrain reflector
Diameter 0.25m[2]
Focal length 1.75m[2]
Collecting area 50 special interest sites
Super Spectral Camera (VSSC),[1] Israeli Hall Effect Thruster (IHET) [2]
VENµS Insignia.gif
VENµS Insignia

Vegetation and Environment monitoring on a New Micro-Satellite (VENµS) is a near polar sun-synchronous orbit microsatellite being jointly built by the Israeli Space Agency and CNES. The project was signed upon in April 2005[4] and is planned to be launched in 2016.[3] The microsatellite, which set to cost the ISA US$20 million and CNES 10 million, will be designed and built by IAI and Rafael under ISA's supervision.

For the mission, CNES is responsible for supplying the superspectral camera and the science mission center. The ISA is responsible for the satellite control center, the spacecraft, and the launcher interface.[1]


The mission dates back to April 12, 2005 when a memorandum of understanding was signed between the ISA and CNES.[5] The satellite was planned to be launched in 2008;[4] however due to severe delays, the launch date has been pushed to 2017.[3] It is now planned to be launched via a Vega launcher.


The satellite has a scientific and a technological mission. Their requirements were defined by Centre d'Etudes Spatiales de la BIOsphère, France, and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and CNES.[1]

Scientific mission[edit]

The satellite has a 2-day revisit orbit which allows constant viewing angles at constant sun lighting angles. The unique combination is hoped to allow the development of new image processing methods. A set of at least 50 points of interest around the world were chosen to be scanned throughout the scientific mission. The points will be rescanned every 2 days for the entire duration of the mission where it will collect sensory and imagery data. Some of the objectives from the scientific mission are:

  • Monitoring and analyzing surface under various environmental and human factors
  • Develop and validate various ecosystem functioning models
  • Improve and validate global carbon cycle models
  • Define theoretical and practical methods for scale transfer
  • Collect and analyze data collected by the low spatial resolution sensors

The satellite is equipped with a Super Spectral Camera comprises a catadioptric optical system, a focal plane assembly with narrow band filters, and 4 detector units with 3 separate CCD-TDI array. Each array with separate operational and thermal control.

The satellite is also equipped with a Ritchey-Chretien telescope with a focal length of 1.75m and a diameter of 0.25m. The telescope's tube will be covered to protect it from pollution and dust which will deploy once in orbit.[2]

Technological mission[edit]

In addition to its scientific mission, the satellite has a technological mission. The satellite will be equipped with Israeli hall effect thrusters (IHET).[2] The mission is to demonstrate the thrusters' enhanced capabilities which include:[6]

  • Orbit maintenance
  • LEO to LEO orbit transfer
  • Enabling imaging mission in a high drag environment.

Ground Control Station[edit]

The satellite will be ground controlled by IAI in Israel which will be linked to two sub-stations in charge of each of the missions: The scientific mission will be operated from Toulouse Space Center, France and the technology mission will be controlled from the Technological Mission Center, Rafael, Haifa, Israel.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "VENUS". CNES. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Yoram Yaniv & Jacob Herscovitz. "VENμS" (PDF). IEEE. IEEE. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Arianespace to launch OPTSAT 3000 and VENµS satellites". Retrieved 30 April 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "CNES AND ISA TO WORK TOGETHER ON VENµS MISSION". CNES Press. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "JOINT CNES-ISA VENµS MISSION GETS UNDERWAY". CNES Press. Retrieved 21 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "Systems Engineering in Venus Satellite" (PDF). Venus Project Manager. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Rainer Sandau; Hans-Peter Roeser; Hans-Peter Röser & Arnoldo Valenzuela (2010). Small Satellite Missions for Earth Observation: New Developments and Trends. Springer. p. 61. ISBN 978-3642035005. 

External links[edit]