MDA, Neptec win CSA contracts
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has awarded a $1.35-million contract to Ontario’s Neptec Design Group for work on Canada’s contribution to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) next-generation space observatory. Neptec is building the Canadian ASTRO-H Metrology System (CAMS), a measuring system that will be used to calibrate the observatory’s main telescope and enhance the images it captures. ASTRO-H marks the first time Canada is part of an X-ray astronomy mission. www.canadianmanufacturing.com
The Dutch parliament has voted in favor of legislation that will allow drone surveillance where public safety is at risk. In the near future, Dutch municipalities will be allowed to use mobile cameras, including drones, to monitor residents. The change to the legislation immediately sparked privacy concerns, although the new legislation does make a clear distinction between the use of mobile cameras and airborne cameras. Mobile cameras, such as the head-mounted cameras currently used by Dutch police, can be used to prevent public disorder; however, drones cannot. www.zdnet.com
FAA to establish center of excellence
FAA will establish a Center of Excellence (COE) for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) within the next year, consisting of representatives from government, academia, and industry to conduct unmanned aircraft research, education, and training. The FAA will initially issue cooperative agreements to selected university teams, as well as define and pay for UAS projects through matching grants over the life of the COE, which will be responsible for matching all money granted to establish, operate and conduct related research, and may contract with others as appropriate. www.avionics-intelligence.com
Brazilian municipalities are planning to use drones to map properties and monitor forest cover as they move to step up enforcement of the country’s Forest Code. The municipality of Altamira in the state of Pará recently purchased a drone for a pilot monitoring project that aims to support the development of the Cadastro Ambiental Rural (CAR), a government-managed database that will contain details on all properties in the Amazon region. The drone has become a necessity because Brazil’s current satellite-based system isn’t timely or accurate enough to ensure implementation at a propertylevel scale. www.news.mongabay.com
Egyptian satellite placed in orbit
Egyptsat, an Egyptian remote sensing satellite launched from Baikonur cosmodrome has successfully entered terrestrial orbit. It was designed and manufactured by Energia rocket and Space Corporation for the Egyptian State Committee for Land Remote Sensing and Space Studies. The resolution of its images will be 1 meter in panchromatic mode and 4 meters in multispectral mode. www.voiceofrussia.com
SimActive’s one-click solution for UAVs
SimActive Inc. announced a new oneclick solution for UAV imagery. The new Correlator3D™ version 5.2 allows the automatic processing of an entire project in only one easy step. The full workflow, which includes generation of a DSM, DTM and orthomosaic, can be performed in minutes only. This new oneclick solution completely eliminates the need for training and allows users with no photogrammetry background to produce accurate results. www.simactive.com
Headwall Hyperspec III software
Headwall has released its Hyperspec III application software featuring a set of hyperspectral data acquisition management tools. It represents an easy-to-use platform for controlling hyperspectral sensors across applications ranging from manned aircraft to UAV airborne remote sensing. www.novuslight.com
UAV application in varied sector like agriculture etc.
At the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, K M Ramesh along with a team of researchers has built a miniature remote controlled vehicle that can hover above farmland and gather data that helps monitor the growth of crops, detect diseases and estimate crop yield months ahead of the harvest. The UAV was used to collect data at tomato farms in Karnataka’s Kolar district for three months at the end of 2013.
“The farmers were enthused by our technology,” said Ramesh, who quit his job as a senior manager at Infosys to pursue a masters in electronics and communication. Ramesh stumbled upon the project at a yoga lesson where he met IISc professor S N Omkar. “Ten years ago, it was difficult to find people who could even operate these vehicles. Now, we see lots of them who design and fly the vehicles themselves,” said Omkar, chief research scientist at the Department of Aerospace Engineering, who is overseeing Ramesh’s work. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) is set to clamp down on the illegal flying of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, in civil airspace. According to a statement sent out by SACAA, the move was prompted by recent reports of UAS already operating in the South African civil aviation airspace. Current civil aviation legislation does not provide for certification, registration and/ or operation of UAS in the South African civil aviation airspace.
While this was hardly problematic before, a surge in demand for the use of drones – especially for commercial purposes – has prompted the SACAA to integrate the use of drones into the South Africa airspace as speedily as possible. In the mean time, until regulations have been put in place, anyone caught operating a UAS could face fines of up to R50 000, a prison sentence of up to 10 years or both. www.news24.com
National Space Science Agency launched in Bahrain
The agency’s new board, led by Mohammed al-Amer, chairman of the Central Informatics and Telecommunications Organisation, met April 9th to discuss the possible ratification of international space-related agreements such as the Outer Space Treaty, the Rescue Agreement, the Space Liability Convention, the Registration Convention and the Moon Agreement. The new agency seeks to establish sound infrastructure for the observation of outer space and the earth, make Bahrain a leader in space science and technology, build a culture and methodology of scientific research within the kingdom and encourage technical innovation, among other goals.