HRC - High Resolution Camera

As a subcontractor for Verhaert Space [B] (now Redwire Space), OIP designed and developed a black & white high resolution camera with a miniaturised Cassegrain telescope and a sensor module developed by CSEM [CH]. The HRC instrument is taking 25 km square images of the Earth with a resolution of 6m. HRC was primarily intended for technological, educational and general public information purposes. The camera was successfully launched on the PROBA I mission in 2001 and is still capturing images.


The Project for On-Board Autonomy (Proba) is a technology demonstration mission of the European Space Agency, funded within the frame of ESA’s General Support Technology Programme (GSTP). It is managed by ESA’s Control and Data Systems Division within the Department of Electrical Engineering, part of the Directorate for Technical and Operational Support at ESA/ESTEC.

The objectives of Proba-1 are:

  • in-orbit demonstration and evaluation of new hardware and software spacecraft technologies
  • in-orbit demonstration and evaluation of onboard operational autonomy
  • in-orbit trial and demonstration of Earth observation and space environment instruments

The PROBA spacecraft was launched on October 22nd, 2001 on the PSLV-C3 launcher from SHAR (ISRO Sriharikota Range, the ISRO launch site on the East Coast of India). (ISRO Indian Space Research Organization) with destination the LEO Sun-synchronous elliptical polar orbit (perigee= 542 km, apogee=657 km, inclination 97.9°, period 96.97 minutes and LTDN 10:30).

OIP’s Participation

OIP, as a subcontractor to Verhaert Space (B) (now QinetiQ Space), was responsible for the design and development of the HRC, using a camera of CSEM (CH).


Primarily planned as a technology demonstrator, Proba-1 turned into an operational Earth observation mission. Originally designed for a two-year mission, the first ESA mini-satellite is after 14 years still operating now as an Earth Observation Third Party Mission.

After almost 2 decades in orbit, ESA’s Proba-1 is showing its age but surpassing its design lifetime ten-fold, the veteran Earth-observing microsatellite is still in full operation and producing nice images.
Instrument was designed for 2 year mission life. Mission lasts till today. Instrument performs flawlessly. The HRC has deserved its flight stars after such a nice campaign.

Users of the Proba-1 satellite to date include:
• more than 60 Earth observation Principal Investigators from scientific institutes within Europe
• space weather and space debris scientific communities
• EduProba (Belgian schools and universities)


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