Israel-led ImageSat International may cancel the launch of its A2 satellite later this year and instead start production of a new $100 million B series craft which will offer better resolution. ImageSat launched its Eros A1 1.8m resolution commercial remote sensing satellite into orbit on 5 December.

Eros B would provide "better performance down to 0.8m and a longer lifetime" of 10 years compared with the six year life for A1, says ImageSat. B satellites will be launched in 2003 at the earliest.

The move will involve risks, concedes ImageSat, as new optical technologies will be required from Israel's Electro Optics company.

Analysts believe that the decision could have been influenced by commercial operators of high resolution satellites failing to meet profit predictions.

Source: Flight International