The Spanish spy satellite ‘PAZ’ sends 33 images of military operations, infrastructures and borders daily.
Since its launch two years ago, it has circled the Earth 14,678 times. Above all, it provides key information for Spanish troops security on missions abroad.
It is one data from the department of Margarita Robles that Confidencial Digital has had access to about it, which was launched into space on Falcon 9 rocket on February 22, 2018, although it was not until October of the same year that it reached its full operational capacity.
The launch came after four years of delays and an investment of more than 160 million euros.
As of October 14, 2020, the ‘PAZ’ satellite had the following brands:
– It has completed 963 days in orbit (2 years and 233 days) since its launch in February 2018, having passed the ‘commissioning’ phase in October of that same year.
– It has completed 14,678 orbits around the earth, which translates into 633 million kilometers.
– In this time, there have been 3,860 contact passes with the satellite from the main station of Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid).
– Since the satellite reached its orbit, a total of 72 maintenance maneuvers have been carried out.
– The nominal useful life of the satellite is estimated at seven years, so the Ministry of Defense estimates that it has just under five years left in operation.
The satellite sends to Defense images , it’s have already been key in several episodes that could have endangered the safety of Spanish troops on international missions.
The person in charge of the operational and functional direction of the ‘PAZ’ satellite is the director of the Armed Forces Intelligence Center (CIFAS), a position now held by Major General Antonio Romero Losada.
CIFAS has among its functions to provide the necessary support, in its scope, to the operations of the Armed Forces. Directs and coordinates the use of joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems; plans, directs and executes actions in the field of geospatial information in the field of defense.
Civil and military applications
The PAZ satellite is operated by Hisdesat and covers both security and defense needs and other civilian needs, having applications in military operations and control of infrastructures and borders.
The satellite is especially useful in providing key information for the safety of Spanish troops on international missions. Spain has land forces, planes and ships deployed in different conflict zones (Lebanon, Iraq, Mali, Somalia …). The images provided by the satellite are used to anticipate possible actions by terrorist or insurgent groups.
‘PAZ’ has the capacity to take more than 100 daily images of 25 cm resolution.
From Hisdesat, they have already highlighted to ECD that there are images that are commercially distributed to national and international users.
The satellite also offers, from October 4, 2019, atmospheric information (temperature, pressure and humidity) to all meteorology services in the world, in ‘near real’ time through the communications system of the World Meteorological Organization ( WMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.
The measurements’re taken using a technique called ‘radio occultation’, based on observations made by a GPS on satellite board that sends data to the receiving station of the North American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA sends the data to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, where it is processed, monitored and sent back to NOAA for final transmission. This process is done in less than three hours from its acquisition in orbit.
In addition, ‘PAZ’ provides “specialized value-added services” in maritime surveillance, emergency mapping and infrastructure surveillance.