Airbus has won two studies from the European Space Agency (ESA) to design a Sample Fetch Rover and an Earth Return Orbiter. These two elements will be critical parts of a mission to return samples of the planet Mars to Earth before the end of the next decade. NASA and ESA signed a letter of intent in April 2018 to pursue a Mars Sample Return mission.
After launching to Mars in 2026, the Mars Sample Fetch Rover will retrieve Mars samples left by the Mars2020 rover. This NASA rover will leave 36 pen sized sample tubes on the Martian surface ready to be collected later.
The Sample Fetch Rover will pick up the sample tubes, carry them back and load them into a sample container within the waiting Mars Ascent Vehicle. The Mars Ascent Vehicle will then launch from the surface and put the sample container into orbit about Mars.
EagleView sets new standard for aerial image capture
Eagle View Technologies, Inc. has announced its intention to acquire Spookfish Limited an Australian listed public company focused on the development and commercialization of premium next generation geospatial imagery products and services. With this acquisition, it simultaneously secures advanced Spookfish aerial camera technology for mass adoption in North America and establishes a presence in the Australian market. www.eagleview.com
To help commercial users more easily take advantage of NASA’s remote sensing data, the space agency created the Remote Sensing Toolkit, a website that lets users unfamiliar with aircraft and satellite data and image analysis browse or keyword search through sensing data, existing applications and software that can be used to build tools. NASA collects petabytes of data each year from its constellation of Earthorbiting satellites, but both the datasets themselves and the tools for processing them have been spread across dozens of sites, making it difficult for potential users to access and use the data. This new comprehensive collection assembled by NASA’s Technology Transfer program offers users an easy way to tap into both near-real-time and archived data and imagery from satellites and aircraft monitoring a wide variety of natural and man-made phenomena. https://gcn.com
Remote sensing centers enjoy great technology for dealing with national strategic challenges like drought, water resources management and crisis management, the Iranian Space Agency (ISA) director said recently. Remote sensing is the process of detecting and monitoring the physical characteristics of an area by measuring its reflected and emitted radiation at a distance from the targeted area. ISA plans to provide a road map for launching a remote sensing center in the near future. www.tehrantimes.com
A new computational model allows researchers to draw on normally incompatible data sets, such as satellite imagery and social media posts, to answer questions about what is happening in targeted locations. The researchers developed the model to serve as a tool for identifying violations of nuclear nonproliferation agreements.
“Our goal was to develop a working framework that uses information from a variety of sensors and data sources to identify these potential violations of nuclear nonproliferation,” says Hamid Krim, co-author of a paper on the work, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at North Carolina State University and director of the VISSTA Laboratory.
“Some of these data may be conventional, such as Geiger counter readings or multispectral data from satellite imagery. But many of these data sources may be nontraditional, such as social media posts. And these sources provide a wide variety of data that are not normally compatible, such as the text included on Twitter posts and the images posted on Flickr.
“By making these different inputs compatible with each other, we are able to accept a broader range of data inputs and use that data in a meaningful way that, ultimately, can help authorities reach more reliable conclusions,” Krim says. www.eurekalert.org
China successfully launches 2 remote sensing satellites PRSS-1, PakTES-1A
China has successfully launched two remote sensing satellites for its “allweather” ally Pakistan. The launch of the two satellites marks yet another space cooperation between China and Pakistan since the launch of PAKSAT-1R, a communication satellite, in August 2011.
The satellites – PRSS-1 and PakTES- 1A – were launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China at 11:56 am using a Long March-2C rocket, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The PRSS-1 is China’s first optical remote sensing satellite sold to Pakistan. It is the 17th satellite developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) for an overseas buyer. A scientific experiment satellite, PakTES-1A, developed by engineers of the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco), was sent into orbit using the same rocket. www.financialexpress.com
The Russian space agency Roscosmos is planning to issue a manufacturing contract to the Research and Production Association of Machine-Building for a new remotesensing satellite worth $147 million.
The sensing satellite will be based on an upgraded new model of the Kondor- FKA S-band radar spacecraft and due for delivery to the customer by November 2025. Once built, Roscosmos will then launch the satellite from the Vostochny spaceport on a Soyuz- 2.1a rocket. www.satellitetoday.com
Insitu, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company has announced it is approaching the theoretical limits of accuracy for photogrammetry through advancements in its High Accuracy Photogrammetry (HAP) capability.
In June, Insitu’s latest accuracy improvement prototype validated that its HAP onboard payload now is accurate to within five centimeters (cm) horizontally and 10cm vertically. This marked increase in accuracy is groundbreaking and now leads the industry inaccuracies that can be obtained without ground control from a fixedwing Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) traveling more than 100km (62.1 miles) per hour from higher than 1,000 ft.