Position Partners has announced a new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for the Australasian civil construction, survey, mining and agricultural industries – SIRIUS UAV by MAVinci. Designed for a wide range of survey applications, the SIRIUS UAV is a fixed wing structure ideal for corridor mapping roads, pipelines and power lines, calculating stockpile volumes, monitoring erosion, reconciliation and progress reporting. www.mavinci.de
Astrium estimates 2012 U.S. corn yield at 116.0 bushels per acre which is at the lower end of current industry expectations. This forecast is based on Astrium Services’ GRAIN (Global Risk Agricultural Intelligence), a unique technology combining satellite imagery processing, agronomic and meteorological models developed over several years. Astrium Services is developing the next generation tools for decision making in the agricultural industry to provide accurate and reliable crop analysis capabilities consistent worldwide at both local and regional levels. www.eads.com
The Defense Department has agreed to install surveillance radar in Australia capable of identifying objects in low- Earth orbit and an advanced space telescope capable of eyeballing objects 22,000 miles in space. The agreement follows high-level talks between the two countries.
The joint communique agreed to by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Defense Minister Stephen Smith also looked at developing a combined communications gateway in Western Australia that the Pentagon’s Wideband Global Satellite System could access.
Australia invested $740.9 million in the Wideband Global Satellite System in 2007, which eventually will consist of nine satellites in a geosynchronous orbit. Each satellite has a maximum data rate of 3.6 gigabits per second of data.
The C-band ground surveillance radar the Pentagon plans to move to Australia currently is located in Antigua and operates as part of a global space surveillance network to detect, track and identify objects in space. Moving the radar to Australia will provide, for the first time, coverage of space objects in the Southern and Eastern hemispheres and track space launches in Asia, the Pentagon said. www.nextgov.com
NigeriaSat-2, Earth observation satellite built by SSTL, has won the 2012 Sir Arthur Clarke award for “Best Space Activity – Industry / project”. The prestigious awards, held by the British Interplanetary Society since 2005, recognise notable contributions to the UK space sector. www.sstl.co.uk
Saudi Arabian officials have announced that they are preparing to launch several satellites in the next few years as part of a number of different scientific experiments. The satellites will be launched using remote sensing technology, Al-Arabiya reported Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed, vice president of research institutes at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, as saying. “The most important new satellites are SAUDISAT4, which will be launched in September 2013, and SAUDI GEO1, which will be launched in 2015,” he said. http://al-shorfa.com/en_GB/articles/meii/ newsbriefs/2012/11/06/newsbrief-09
A new study by scientists at the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science uses Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data to investigate deformation prior to the eruption of active volcanoes in Indonesia’s west Sunda arc. Led by geophysicist Estelle Chaussard and UM Professor Falk Amelung, the study uncovered evidence that several volcanoes did in fact ‘inflate’ prior to eruptions due to the rise of magma. The fact that such deformation could be detected by satellite is a major step forward in volcanology; it is the first unambiguous evidence that remotely detected ground deformation could help to forecast eruptions at volcanoes. www.rsmas.miami.edu
A new analysis led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has estimated how much the growth of plants worldwide is limited by the amount of nutrients available in their soil. The maps produced from the research will be particularly useful in evaluating how much carbon dioxide Earth’s ecosystems may be able to soak up as greenhouse gas levels increase.
A research team led by JPL research scientist Josh Fisher used 19 years of data from NASA, NOAA and international satellites to assess the maximum possible growth of vegetation all over the world based upon available water and light conditions. The scientists then cross-compared that potential maximum with observed vegetation productivity as measured by satellites. This is the first time such an analysis has been conducted. www.jpl.nasa.gov
MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd has signed a multi-million dollar contract with DigitalGlobe, Inc. to develop a solution to allow two of the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) mobile ground systems, called Eagle Vision, to receive and process imagery from WorldView-1 and WorldView-2 satellites. MDA’s solution will enhance the USAF’s ability to provide near real-time in-theatre access to essential image data, on a daily basis. www.mdacorporation.com
ESA’s GOCE gravity satellite has already delivered the most accurate gravity map of Earth, but its orbit is now being lowered in order to obtain even better results. The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) has been orbiting Earth since March 2009, reaching its ambitious objective to map our planet’s gravity with unrivalled precision. Although the planned mission has been completed, the fuel consumption was much lower than anticipated because of the low solar activity over the last two years. This has enabled ESA to extend GOCE’s life, improving the quality of the gravity model. To be able to measure the strength of Earth’s gravity, the satellite was flying in an extraordinarily low orbit about 255 km high – about 500 km lower than most Earth observation satellites. www.esa.int