RapidEye Has China Covered – Again and Again…

Brandenburg / Havel, Germany, March 11, 2010 – RapidEye, the only geospatial solutions provider to own and operate a constellation of five identical Earth Observation satellites, announced today that they have successfully completed a contract to image 7.8 Million km² of the country of China ahead of schedule. The contract between RapidEye and the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) for the People’s Republic of China, was coordinated through their Chinese distributor Beijing Earth Observation (BEO).

“What the Ministry wanted was an ambitious task. They wanted 80% of China, almost 8 Million square kilometers, with less than 10% cloud cover in a six month time window. I don’t think we even realized when we signed how challenging it would be,” remarked Massimilliano Vitale, Head of RapidEye’s Operations Department. “When you look at the statistical cloud cover for this area, over half of it rides at about 70%. Finding the right pass to get a relatively cloud-free image is often done quite by chance.”

Of course, with a project of this magnitude, nothing can be left to chance. This was a big contract, and as RapidEye is a relatively new imagery provider without a similar past experience, a lot was riding on this project. Commercial operations began for RapidEye just 13 months ago, following the successful launch of their satellite constellation in August, 2008.

“We have been using remote sensing for the last 10 years, and each year we have imaged parts of China. With such a large land mass, we have never been able to get the entire country imaged over one year. RapidEye has really been able to succeed here where other companies in the past have not,” stated Jihong Yang, Director of The Ministry of Land and Resources P.R.C. “RapidEye’s performance exceeded our expectations.”

The RapidEye system is able to return to any point on Earth daily. Over the past few months, the satellites could be repeatedly found over China. In order to insure successful delivery to the Chinese MLR, China was the focus when the satellites had any ‘spare time’. As a result of this approach, most areas of the country were imaged five, and in some cases six times in order to fulfill the contractual requirements.

“There is a big difference between discussing the specifications of a system and looking at a project from a hypothetical standpoint as apposed to bringing to fruition an enormous task such as this one. I am proud of the entire team that worked to make this a success,” stated the CEO of RapidEye, Wolfgang Biedermann. “It was not an easy project for us, and that’s why it is all the more satisfying now that we have reached the finish line. We are hopeful that we have sufficiently impressed them, and that they will require something similar on a recurring basis.”

Now that the RapidEye Level 1B imagery has been delivered, it is up to the Ministry of Land Resources to piece all of the tiles together to create a mosaic. The MLR has several potential uses for the imagery, including using it to protect their agricultural lands from urban sprawl.

“We have never had this sort of comprehensive reference of China,” commented Mr. Bing Sun, CEO of Eastdawn Corporation, parent company to Beijing Earth Observation. “This is ideal for the MLR for change detection in the country. We were very pleased with the way that this project was planned, executed and delivered. RapidEye made the best use of their resources, and delivered quality imagery of over 75% of the country within the first three months, which is remarkable. Our client is very satisfied, and in turn, so are we.”

Even though the contract with the Chinese Ministry of Land Resources was only for 80% of the country, RapidEye has imaged China in its entirety (9.6 Million km²), and it is now available in the RapidEye Library. These images can be accessed and purchased by contacting a local distributor or RapidEye’s Customer Service department at sales@rapideye.de.

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 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 120 experts from more than 20 countries are employed by RapidEye, with plans to grow the team to 130 within the next few months. 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) and the State of Brandenburg in Germany. For more information on ERDF please contact efreinfo@mw.brandenburg.de. For more information about RapidEye, please visit www.rapideye.de.