Launch nears for satellite

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A SATELLITE which can take pictures of the Earth from high up in space is on its way to its launch pad.

Pléiades 1B, the second very-high-resolution satellite in the Pléiades family built by Astrium for the French space agency CNES, has left the firm’s facility in Toulouse en route for its launch site in French Guiana.

The satellite’s payload – the part of it that keeps it on the right trajectory and, crucially, houses the parts that take the pictures – is built at the firm’s base in Broad Oak, Portsmouth.

Pléiades 1B will be lifting off at the end of November.

It will join its twin, the Pléiades 1A satellite, spinning around the planet at a height of altitude of 432 miles (695km).

The satellites can take up to 900 images a day.