Paz (satellite)

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Paz satellite SpaceX.jpg
Paz undergoing integration at SpaceX prior to launch
Mission type Earth observation
Operator Hisdesat
COSPAR ID 2018-020A
SATCAT no. 43215
Mission duration Planned: ≥7 years
Elapsed: 11 months, 24 days
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer Airbus Defence and Space
Launch mass 1,341 kg (2,956 lb)
Dry mass 1,282 kg (2,826 lb)
Dimensions Hexagonal: 2.4 × 5 m (7.9 × 16.4 ft)
Power 850 W
Start of mission
Launch date 22 February 2018, 14:17 (2018-02-22UTC14:17) UTC
Rocket Falcon 9 Flight 49
Launch site Vandenberg SLC-4E
Contractor SpaceX
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Semi-major axis 6,886.5 km (4,279.1 mi)
Eccentricity 0.0001702
Perigee 507.2 km (315.2 mi)
Apogee 509.5 km (316.6 mi)
Inclination 97.45 deg
Period 94.79 minutes
Epoch 20 September 2018, 07:51:55 UTC[1]
Band X band
Bandwidth 300 Mbits/sec

Paz (Spanish for "peace") is a Spanish Earth observation and reconnaissance satellite launched on 22 February 2018. It is Spain's first spy satellite.[2] The satellite is operated by Hisdesat.[3] Paz was previously referred to as SEOSAR (Satélite Español de Observación SAR).[4]


For observational purposes, Paz uses a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to collect images of Earth for governmental and commercial use, as well as other ship tracking and weather sensors, which enables high-resolution mapping of large geographical areas at day and night.[3][5] The X-band radar imaging payload operates at a wavelength of 3.1 centimetres (1.2 in), or a frequency of 9.65 gigahertz.

The Paz satellite is operated in a constellation with the German SAR fleet TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X on the same orbit. The collaboration was agreed on by both Hisdesat and former European aerospace manufacturer Astrium, operator of the two other satellites.[4][6] The high-resolution images will be used for military operations, border control, intelligence, environmental monitoring, protection of natural resources, city and infrastructure planning, and monitoring of natural catastrophes.

Originally, Paz was scheduled for launch from the Yasny launch base, Russia, in 2014, but this was delayed due to Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, resulting in an International Court of Arbitration legal battle between Hisdesat and Kosmotras. The US launch was estimated to cost around €53 million, cost partially reduced by the inclusion of several mobile internet satellites on the same flight.[2]


The satellite launched on a reused Falcon 9 rocket by SpaceX from Vandenberg Air Force Base SLC-4E on 22 February 2018 at 14:17 UTC. The satellite hosted two secondary payloads: an AIS receiver and the Radio-Occultation and Heavy Precipitation (ROHP) experiment.[7] The launch was shared by two 400 kg (880 lb) SpaceX test satellites for their forthcoming communications network in low Earth orbit, named Tintin A and B.[8][9] It was the final flight of a Block 3 first stage, and reused the booster B1038 from the Formosat-5 mission.[10] Paz weighs 1,282 kg (2,826 lb),[10] and its total mass with fuel is 1,341 kg (2,956 lb).[8] The payloads were carried to a Sun-synchronous dawn-dusk orbit.[3] The launch was originally scheduled for 30 January 2018.[5]

The booster flew without landing legs and was expended at sea.[8] It also featured Fairing 2.0 with a recovery attempt using a crew boat named Mr. Steven that is equipped with a net. The fairing narrowly missed the boat, leading to a soft water landing.[11][12]



  1. ^ "Paz - Orbit". Heavens-Above. 20 September 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b Ford, Matt (10 February 2018). "Elon Musk's SpaceX to launch Spain's first military spy satellite". EuroWeekly News. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Paz Earth Observation Satellite - Airforce Technology". Airforce Technology. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b "PAZ". eoPortal. European Space Agency. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Launch Schedule". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  6. ^ "TerraSAR-X & PAZ Constellation : Airbus Defence and Space". Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Hisdesat Commits Launch of PAZ Satellite to SpaceX" (Press release). Hisdesat. 7 March 2017. Archived from the original on 22 August 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Atkinson, Ian (11 February 2018). "Falcon 9 static fires at Vandenberg ahead of Paz + Starlink launch". Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  9. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "MicroSat 2a, 2b". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  10. ^ a b Krebs, Gunter. "Paz". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  11. ^ "SpaceX Falcon 9 set for PAZ launch with Starlink demo and new fairing".
  12. ^ Musk, Elon. "Missed by a few hundred meters..."
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