French, Swedish and Belgian engineers are currently preparing the launch of a satellite described as the most powerful civil observation satellite ever built. Spot 5, due to be launched in April, will monitor natural catastrophes and study crops and forests for planning purposes. It will be capable of identifying objects the size of a car from its orbit more than 800 kilometres above the earth's surface, and will produce images five times clearer that those available to-date. Project Director Michel Siguier has indicated that Spot 5 will be able to "contribute to the planning of motorways and...

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