Launch date
April 28, 2021
Pléiades Neo 3, Five auxiliary payloads
Launch vehicle
Launch site
Spaceport, French Guiana (Guiana Space Center)
Airbus Defence and Space
Prime contractor(s)
Airbus Defence and Space
Sun-synchronous orbit


Flight VV18

For its third mission of the year and the first Vega flight of 2021, Arianespace will put in orbit the Pléiades Neo 3 satellite on behalf of Airbus Defence and Space along with five auxiliary payloads through the piggyback mission, Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS).

Flight VV18 underscores Arianespace’s comprehensive range of innovative and very competitive services to address the nano- and micro-satellite market sub-segment, serving both institutional and commercial needs.

Washington, D.C.
9:50 p.m., Apr. 28
10:50 p.m., Apr. 28
Universal Time (UTC)
01:50 Apr. 29
03:50 a.m., Apr. 29
09:50 a.m., Apr. 29
10:50 a.m., Apr. 29


Pléiades Neo 3 satellite

The ambitious project of Airbus Defence and Space: Pléiades Neo, the first European satellite constellation at 30 cm resolution.

Pléiades Neo 3 is the first of the Pléiades Neo constellation to be launched. Entirely funded, manufactured, owned and operated by Airbus, Pléiades Neo is a breakthrough in Earth observation domain.

With 30 cm resolution, best-in-class geolocation accuracy and twice-a-day revisit, the four Pléiades Neo satellites unlock new possibilities with ultimate reactivity. Thanks to these state-of-the-art satellites, each step of the acquisition and delivery cycle offers top-level Earth observation services now and going forward for the next ten years. In addition, their reactive tasking ability allows urgent acquisitions 30 to 40 minutes following request – which is five times higher than previous constellations – and respond to the most critical situations in near real-time, very useful for natural disaster. Pléiades Neo will also operate for mapping, urban and defence applications.

The Pléiades Neo constellation is 100% commercially available and will provide institutional and commercial customer’s needs. Images captured by Pléiades Neo will be streamed into the OneAtlas on-line platform, allowing customers to have immediate data access, analytics and correlation with Airbus’ unique archive of optical and radar data.

There are two additional Airbus Defence and Space Intelligence missions, for three satellites in the Arianespace backlog to be launched on Vega from the Guiana space center.

Arianespace and Airbus Defence and Space, a fruitful cooperation since the creation of the European launch services provider in 1980.

Pleiades Neo 3 will be the 131st Airbus Defence and Space built satellite to be launched by Arianespace. There are currently 20 Airbus Defence and Space built satellites in Arianespace’s backlog: CERES (x3), SYRACUSE 4B (COMSAT NG 2), EUTELSAT QUANTUM, METOP-SG A1 & METOP-SG B1, THEOS-2, CSO 3, Pléiades Neo (x3), JUICE, Measat-3d, Biomass, EarthCARE and CO3D (x4). In addition, Airbus Defence and Space is involved in the construction of the OneWeb satellites.

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