China successfully launched the remotesensing satellite Yaogan XIIII recently from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the northern province of Shanxi. The satellite was carried into space aboard a Long March 4B carrier rocket which blasted off at 3:06 p.m. Beijing time, according to the center. The satellite will be used to conduct scientiflc experiments, carry out surveys on land resources, monitor crop yields and help with natural disaster-reduction and prevention.
The Long March 4B carrier rocket was produced by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. Along with Yaogan XIIII, a tiny satellite named Tiantuo I was also sent into orbit during the flight.
The Pakistan-Turkey Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) agreed to cooperate and share their expertise in various flelds, which include remote sensing technology and vessel tracking system. The JMC meeting was cochaired by the Prime Ministers of both countries.
Iranian Aerospace Industry Organization Director Mehdi Farahi announced on May 14th 2012 that Tehran plans to send the Fajr (Dawn) the lightweight telecommunications satellite equipped with remote sensing, satellite telemetry and geographic information system technology as well as remote and ground station data processing into space very soon. The Fajr satellite is a reconnaissance satellite powered by solar energy. Iran plans to send the satellite into space aboard the upgraded Saflr, satellite carrier rocket.
A Moscow court upheld a ban last week which prohibited the Russian research and development company ScanEx from distributing satellite images of Earth at a resolution higher than two meters. Scanex works under license from the Russian federal space agency, Roscosmos, to collect, process and disseminate Earth remote sensing data. A 2008 ban prohibited ScanEx from distributing high-resolution images, considered by the defense ministry to contain sensitive military information. Last year Roscosmos announced that it was preparing a bill to lift all restrictions on the dissemination of civil satellite data.
GeoEye has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Rolta. With this new partnership, Rolta gains access to GeoEye’s high-resolution satellite imagery, services and expertise to develop innovative geospatial products and services. Rolta plans to offer these GeoEye-enabled solutions to its customers across high-growth global markets, beginning with India.
Despite a recent assurance by the Pentagon, the row over satellite imagery cut got intensifled. The nation’s military and intelligence offlcials are at loggerheads over the future of the USA’s spy satellites. The Obama administration has proposed a cut in contracts for commercial satellite imagery to about USD 250 million from USD 540 million as part its budget proposal for flscal 2013. According to a report published in The New York Times, both Republican and Democratic leaders on the Congressional intelligence committees are resisting the budget cuts and siding with the private companies and the military, which argues that it could not get as much imagery as it needs for combat operations without turning to the less expensive commercial technology.
“The debate is really between the military, which needs a lot of imagery but doesn’t need the highly classifled imagery, and the intelligence community, which wants to keep the capability to produce its own imagery,” said Bill Wilt, a senior offlcial with GeoEye, one of the private satellite companies.
“The technology of the current satellite architecture is pretty much at its limit, and the commercial satellites are producing just about the same thing at a much lower cost,” noted retired Gen. James E. Cartwright of the Marines, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “The government’s satellites are better, but the question is, what do you need? Most studies show that about 90 percent of what the military needs can be solved with commercial.”
The military also favours commercial satellites because imagery from the intelligence community cannot be easily shared with allies. “The beauty of commercial imagery is that it is unclassifled,” observed Walter Scott, chief technical offlcer of DigitalGlobe, a satellite company based in Longmont, Colorado.
DigitalGlobe Inc. rejected a USD 792 million takeover bid from its rival GeoEye Inc., by stating that GeoEye undervalued the company. It also said that the bid was not in the best interest of the company’s shareholders. Earlier, GeoEye had offered the USD 17 per share hostile bid for DigitalGlobe after holding talks with its target over several months. The bid was a 26 percent premium over DigitalGlobe’s closing price of USD 13.52. According to media report, GeoEye has a smaller market capitalisation than DigitalGlobe, making it a somewhat unlikely acquirer, but it has higher revenue and is profltable.
Members of the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure (GSDI) Association chose EuroGeographics’ Secretary General and Executive Director, Dave Lovell OBE FRGS CGeog as its Presidentelect.