Time Flies: RapidEye Celebrates One Year In Space

Brandenburg / Havel, Germany, August 28, 2009 – RapidEye, the only geospatial solutions provider to own and operate a constellation of Earth observation satellites, is celebrating their first year in space.

One year ago this week, a Dnepr-1 rocket was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying all five of RapidEye’s satellites.  It was an all-or-nothing mission for the organization that started ten years earlier in Munich.

“I remember how nervous we all were,” recalled Wolfgang G. Biedermann, CEO of RapidEye. “We were hosting over 500 people at our headquarters here in Brandenburg. Many of our current customers, local and state dignitaries, board members, press, our families and friends as well as many citizens of Brandenburg witnessed the launch. I remember thinking ‘this will be one of the better days of my life, or one of the worst ever’.  Luckily, it was one of my best,” he says with a smile.

The six months immediately following the launch were full of rigorous exercises for the five satellites as MDA, RapidEye’s general contractor, in cooperation with RapidEye’s Operations and Engineering team performed post-launch testing and calibration activities. This month also marks six months of commercial operations for the satellite constellation.

“It has really been an incredible year,” commented Michael Oxfort, Head of Operations and Engineering for RapidEye. "Having a hand in an operational system of this size and complexity after being involved in the preliminary conception on a piece of paper is, of course, very exciting. After these first months, the system is performing to our expectations, but we still can see further potential for optimization of the system in the near future."

The entire RapidEye system boasts cutting-edge technology and offers advantages other systems cannot compete with. With its constellation of five identical satellites equally spaced in the same orbital plane 630 kilometers above Earth, it quickly covers large areas at high resolution. With its ability to revisit any point on Earth every day, therefore being able to return when a cloud-free image is possible, RapidEye can provide the most up-to-date, multi-spectral images of large areas and offer repeat coverages of large areas several times a year.

A five meter resolution product in five spectral bands can be delivered by RapidEye, and it comes with a  reasonable price-tag per square kilometer. This makes RapidEye an obvious choice for many in these difficult financial times. “Since our data is relatively inexpensive, this gives many companies an opportunity to frequently monitor large areas without breaking the bank,” commented Michael Prechtel, Head of Marketing and Sales for RapidEye. “When our imagery shows customers that there is activity or change in their area, then they can have a closer look if necessary.”

RapidEye as a company has been quite busy over the last 12 months. Less than 2 months after their satellite launch, they released their first image to the public. Six distributors have been selected over the last year (with many more contracts near completion), and their Sales Team has been actively spreading the word by directly marketing RapidEye products and solutions to customers in many key markets and attending important global industry trade shows and events.

RapidEye’s Product Development Team has been bringing agricultural and forestry service projects to a successful completion that have been in full-swing in Europe and the U.S. in recent months, and many new projects are being prepared in collaboration with customers for the upcoming growing season in the southern hemisphere.

“Since launch, we have become more efficient, learned to work smarter and have focused our energies to achieving success as a team. We build on that every day, making RapidEye stronger as a whole,” remarked Mr. Biedermann. “I am optimistic that we will have many celebratory milestones in the months and years ahead that will be a direct result of our concentrated efforts over the last twelve months.”

The next year should prove to be just as full of achievements and challenges as the last. Plans are taking shape to release an eShop (The RapidEye Geodata Kiosk), their distribution network should increase by over a dozen, new products and services will be developed, and RapidEye intends to add an additional 30 team members to their payroll.

To relive some of the activities and excitement from August 29, 2008, please visit RapidEye’s website at http://www.rapideye.de/home/system/launch-2008/ for more information, press releases and photographs of a day those who are close to RapidEye will never forget.

About RapidEye AG
RapidEye is an ISO-certified geospatial information provider focused on integrating customized and industry specific solutions into the workflow of global customers in agriculture, forestry, energy, infrastructure, government, security and emergency. RapidEye experts and the satellite system – a constellation of five satellites capable of imaging and downloading over 4 million km² of high resolution, multi-spectral imagery per day, and a ground segment for processing and archiving data – allow for cost-effective customized services. The unique combination of large area coverage, high spatial resolution and the possibility of daily revisit to an area provide for superior management information solutions. Currently, more than 100 experts from more than 20 countries are employed by RapidEye, with plans to grow the team to 140 in late 2009. RapidEye benefits from a public-private partnership with the Space Agency of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), which is supported by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. RapidEye is also cofinanced by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). For more information on ERDF please contact efreinfo@mw.brandenburg.de For more information about RapidEye, please visit www.rapideye.de