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The SPOT earth observation system designed by CNES, had been in operation since February 1986. In May 2002 the SPOT-5 satellite added its new capabilities to the SPOT family. SPOT-5 was orbited by an Ariane 4 launcher. The satellite was foreseen to be under nominal operations up to 2014 as a minimum, and finally operated nominally until March 2015.

Compared to its predecessors, SPOT-5 offered greatly enhanced capabilities due to SPOT-5's improved 5-metre and 2.5-metre resolution. The satellite provided an ideal balance between high resolution and wide-area coverage. SPOT-5's other key feature was the unprecedented acquisition capability of the on-board HRS imaging instrument, which had the ability to take stereo pair images quasi-simultaneously. Stereo pair imagery is vital for applications that call for 3D terrain modelling.

Minimize Mission Facts and Figures
Operator CNES
Launch date 04 May 2002
Orbit Height 832km
Orbit Type Sun-synchronous circular polar
Repeat Cycle 26 days
Resolution 2.5 to 20m
Swath Width 60km
Onboard sensors provided under TPM HRG (High-Resolution Geometric)
HRS (High-Resolution Stereoscopic)