Dual payload satellite architecture by BlackSky
BlackSky, a leading provider of global monitoring services, geospatial intelligence and satellite imagery, has announced the next phase of expansion of its high-revisit commercial satellite constellation with the unveiling of its next generation, Gen-3, satellite architecture. The commercial constellation expansion features Gen-3 satellites capable of producing images with 50-centimeter resolution and of hosting multiple sensors including short-wave infrared (SWIR).
In addition, the company also announced it has conducted the preliminary design review of its Gen-3 satellite design for the U.S. Army Tactical GEOINT prototype program as part of a multi-year contract with the Defense Innovation Unit. www.blacksky.com
Norway’s Ministry of Climate and Environment recently awarded an international contract to Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT), who, together with Planet and Airbus, will provide universal access to high-resolution satellite monitoring of the tropics in order to support efforts to stop deforestation and save the world’s tropical forests. Through this program, the coalition of three geospatial organizations will bring new technologies and transparency to advance the mission of Norway’s International Climate and Forests Initiative (NICFI). Planet will provide high-resolution (sub- 5m per pixel) Basemaps of the full tropics, covering over 64 developing countries, updated every month. These will be freely available for anyone to view and use through Norway’s technology partners like Global Forest Watch. www.planet.com/
Maxar Technologies has announced that it has been selected by the U.S. Army Geospatial Center to deliver multiple highly portable, directdownlink tactical ground systems that provide critical geospatial intelligence to users in remote locations.
The system, called the U.S. Army Remote Ground Terminal (RGT), is easily transported by two people and can be set-up in about an hour. The RGT enables troops in remote locations to rapidly downlink, analyze and disseminate data from commercial Earth observation satellites to support military, humanitarian and disaster relief missions. The RGT system is based on Maxar’s Tactical Architecture for Near-realtime Global Operations (TANGOTM) platform, the most portable ground system of its kind. www.maxar.com
On 19 August 2020, the world’s largest and longest polar research expedition – known as MOSAiC – reached the North Pole after making an unplanned detour owing to lighter-than-usual sea ice conditions. The expedition is now entering its final stage, during which researchers will study the last piece of the Arctic puzzle: the growth of new sea ice marking the end of the summer season.
In September 2019, the German research icebreaker Polarstern set sail from Tromsø, Norway, to spend a year drifting through the Arctic Ocean – trapped in ice. After leaving the ice floe it had been sitting in for the previous ten months, the icebreaker travelled through the Fram Strait and along the northeast coast of Greenland – a region that is usually home to thick, multi-year ice.
Using radar satellite imagery and seaice data, researchers onboard the vessel determined that the ice conditions this year were ‘lighter than usual’ and were able to complete their journey to the North Pole in just six days. Onboard, during the year-long experiment, around 600 researchers from 20 countries have been carrying out various experiments on the sea ice surrounding the ship in order to gain fundamental insights that are key to better understand global climate change. www.esa.int
Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, has launched the Aatmanirbhar Bharat ARISE-Atal New India Challenges, to spur applied research and innovation in Indian MSMEs and startups. The programme will be driven by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), four ministries—Ministry of Defence; Ministry of Food Processing Industries; Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs—and associated industriesto facilitate innovative solutions to sectoral problems. https://pib.gov.in
Atmospheric monitoring and earth observation microsatellites
Space Flight Laboratory (SFL), a developer of 52 distinct microspace missions, has successfully launched and deployed the GHGSat-C1 greenhouse gas monitoring microsatellite and the Slovenian NEMO-HD Earth observation microsatellite. SFL developed the small satellites at its facility in Toronto.
Both satellites were in contact with ground control within hours of their launch on September 2, 2020, aboard an Arianespace Vega rocket from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, South America. The satellites are healthy and operating as planned.
Established at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS) in 1998, SFL has developed CubeSats, nanosatellites, and microsatellites that have achieved more than 126 cumulative years of operation in orbit. These microspace missions have included SFL’s trusted attitude control and, in some cases, formation-flying capabilities. Other core SFL-developed components include modular (scalable) power systems, onboard radios, flight computers, and control software. www.utias-sfl.net