The Prime Minister of India announced that India successfully conducted an Anti- Satellite (ASAT) missile test, named Mission Shakti, becoming the fourth country in the world to demonstrate the capability to shoot down satellites in orbit. So far, only the United States, Russia and China have this prowess The satellite downed by the ASAT missile was Microsat-R, an imaging satellite which was launched into orbit on January 24, 2019 using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), a senior Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) official said.
India has built the broad capabilities and building blocks to develop ASAT missiles for some time as part of its Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) programme. www.thehindu.com
Mitigating the loss of satellite data by using CubeSat
Mitigating the loss of satellite data by using CubeSat remote sensing technology
Advanced infrared and microwave sounding systems, usually onboard traditional polar-orbiting satellites, provide atmospheric sounding information critical for nowcasting and weather forecasting through data assimilation in numerical weather prediction models. This means weather forecasts have become increasingly dependent on satellite observations. But what if we lose one or more of these instruments? How do we mitigate the data gap?
Dr. Jun Li, a distinguished scientist at the Cooperative Institute of Meteorological Satellite Studies, University of Wisconsin—Madison, led a study to answer these questions. The findings were recently published in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Letters.
Li and his team used a so-called ‘observing system simulation experiment’ to study the potential of two types of remote sensing technologies using CubeSats— the Micro-sized Microwave Atmospheric Satellite-2 (MicroMAS-2) and the CubeSat Infrared Atmospheric Sounder (CIRAS), with costs measured in millions of US dollars, far fewer than those needed to replace a traditional satellite-to mitigate the data gap (should one occur) of the Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder (ATMS) and the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), onboard the Suomi NPP and the Joint Polar Satellite System satellites. The results showed that a single CubeSat was able to provide added value in terms of the forecasting of local severe storms, and more CubeSats with increased data coverage yielded larger additional positive impacts, indicating that CubeSats may be used to mitigate data gaps left by the loss of traditional weather satellites. https://phys.org
China officially put two Earth observation satellites into operation on 21st March 2019, after testing. According to a report in Xinhua, the Chinese said, “the satellites will assist in a wide range of public services including environmental protection, airpollution mitigation, agricultural and forestry surveys and disaster relief”.
The Gaofen 5 and 6high—definition satellites are the latest additions to China’s Earth observation satellite network. www.spacedaily.com
Gatwick Airport, the busiest singlerunway airport in the world, is using aerial photography from Bluesky to plan long term development and growth. The high resolution, map accurate imagery will feature highly in the Airport’s soon to be published Master Plan. The Plan, which explores options including the increased capacity for its existing runway, additional use of a standby runway and safeguarding for a new runway, outlines how the Airport will meet an increasing demand for air travel, create new opportunities for the region and manage its environmental impact. www.bluesky-world.com