Sentinel-1 update

Following the Sentinel-1A launch on 3 April, the Launch and Early Orbit Phase
 (LEOP) was successfully  completed  on 6 April. The orbital maneuvers to raise the satellite altitude and reach the reference orbit from the low injection orbit by the Soyuz launcher (-7.8 km) were completed on August 7.

A  joint  European  Commission-ESA  press  event  was  organised  on 8 May in
Brussels  on  “Sentinel-1A  first  images and demonstration of applications”,
where  excellent  initial results were presented by external experts. Initial
samples  of  Sentinel-1A  preliminary products were made available on-line to
all  users  on  9  May  at  Further  Data  sets are
regularly  released  via this site for familiarisation purpose and to support
preparatory  user  activities. 

The satellite Commissioning Phase is ongoing and is planned to be completed by end September, after which initial operational data provision will start. The observation scenario covering the first three months (October to December) is being prepared and will be made available to the user communities late September. Full and open access to the Sentinel-1 data for all user communities is planned for early January 2015.

(info provided by ESA)

(7 July 2014) Ocean waves, the hot sun, sea breezes -- the right combination makes a great day at the beach.

A different combination makes a killer hurricane. The complex interactions of the ocean and the air above it that can create such different outcomes are not yet fully known. Scientists would especially like to understand the role that the daily heat of the sun plays in creating winds.

In a few months, NASA will send an ocean wind-monitoring instrument to a berth on the International Space Station. That unique vantage point will give ISS-RapidScat, short for the International Space Station Rapid Scatterometer, the ability to observe daily (also called diurnal) cycles of wind created by solar heat.

Winds contribute to motion in the ocean on every scale, from individual waves to currents extending thousands of miles. They affect local weather as well as large-scale, long-term climate patterns such as El Niño. Across the tropical Pacific, winds help or hinder local economies by allowing nutrient-rich water to well up from the ocean depths, nourishing marine life to the benefit of coastal fisheries, or blocking its upwelling.

Since the hours of daylight are totally predictable, you might expect their influence on winds to be equally obvious. But that's not the case. According to Sarah Gille, an oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, "There's an enormous amount of diurnal wind variation between 30 degrees north and south of the equator, and we don't understand the timing. It's clear that the winds aren't just triggered every day at noon [when the sun is highest]."

Scatterometer observations from satellites have proven invaluable for understanding ocean winds. A scatterometer is a type of radar that bounces microwaves off Earth's surface and measures the strength and direction of return signals. The more uneven the surface, the stronger the return signals. On the ocean, higher winds create larger waves and therefore stronger return signals. The return signal also tells scientists the direction of the wind, because waves line up in the direction the wind is blowing.

The reason spaceborne scatterometers haven't helped much with the specific question of daily wind cycles has to do with their orbits. All modern instruments have been in sun-synchronous orbits, in which a satellite is always oriented at the same angle relative to the sun. In this type of orbit, a satellite passes over every location at the same fixed times, for example, 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. over the equator. The resulting data can't throw much light on the question of how winds develop over the course of a day.

For six months in 2003, there were two scatterometers of the same type in space, collecting data at different times of day. From that data, Gille and her colleagues were able to recognize some patterns. "We could see, for example, how sea breezes converge over a large body of water like the Mediterranean or Black Sea. It was a nice window into diurnal variability, but we only had six months of data." That's inadequate to observe differences between summer and winter patterns, among other things.

In its berth on the space station, the two-year RapidScat mission, built and managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, will be the first modern spaceborne scatterometer not locked in a sun-synchronous orbit. Each time the space station passes over a spot on Earth, it's at a different time of day than on the previous visit.

RapidScat came into being because in 2009, NASA's previous scatterometer mission, an instrument called SeaWinds on the QuikScat satellite, stopped collecting ocean wind data following more than a decade of faithful service. Its antenna rotation mechanism wore out and stopped working. While the SeaWinds instrument itself is still functioning, its view is limited to a very narrow beam.

During QuikScat's decade of full operation, the National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center, U.S. Navy, and other users relied on its data (among other data sources) to produce forecasts and warnings of everything from El Niño to hurricanes to iceberg movements. "When QuikScat stopped spinning, the user community began looking at ways to get a scatterometer going again," said Stacey Boland, a RapidScat project systems engineer at JPL.

In 2012, NASA's space station program manager offered scientists at JPL a berth for a replacement scatterometer and a free ride into space in 2014 on a scheduled commercial cargo mission to resupply the space station. "The community had extensively evaluated many types of opportunities and was well aware of the benefit of the space station orbit," Boland said.

The entire instrument has been designed and built in the two years since then -- hence the adjective "Rapid" in its name. RapidScat's instrument is essentially the same as the durable SeaWinds instrument on QuikScat. RapidScat will give QuikScat's user community the same vital data, and eventually it will supply the long-awaited answers on diurnal winds.

Boland explained how the RapidScat data will accumulate to provide those answers. "We get near-complete spatial coverage every two days over the range of latitudes observable from the space station." (The station orbit ranges from 51.6 degrees north to 51.6 degrees south.) "The coverage at any particular spot is at a slightly different local time of day on each orbit. In about two months, we will have sampled 24 hours of local time at each spot."

Once RapidScat has gathered enough cycles of observations, Gille said, "When we average the data, it will tell us what the average conditions are and how much of the observed wind looks like a diurnal pattern."

Gille added, "We're very interested in putting time into an analysis to understand how diurnal winds change from season to season or year to year. Understanding the variability of these processes is a critical part of understanding weather."

RapidScat is the third of five NASA Earth science missions scheduled to be launched this year, the most new NASA Earth-observing mission launches in the same year in more than a decade. NASA monitors Earth's vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

(source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and spacenewsfeed


The CEOI-ST has recently held a round-table consultation, bringing together industry representatives from the Remote Sensing, GIS and UAV sectors to discuss and provide input on market trends, challenges and opportunities that will inform CEOI-ST’s strategy for the next generation of earth observation / remote sensing instruments.

The report from the Workshop has been published and a summary is available on CEOI-ST website -


This is a full motion HD video from space of a gold mine in Uşak, Western Turkey.

It was collected by SkySat-1 on March 23, 2014.

For more information, visit us at

Source Skybox

(May 20, 2014) Teledyne Technologies Incorporated (NYSE:TDY) announced today that its subsidiary, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. (TBE), in Huntsville, Ala., and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) formalized their commercial space imaging partnership to use the International Space Station (ISS) for Earth observation with the signing of an Implementation Agreement at the ILA Berlin Air Show.

Under the agreement, DLR will build the DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer (DESIS), a hyperspectral instrument that Teledyne will integrate onto its ISS-based imaging platform, the Multi-User System for Earth Sensing (MUSES). The MUSES platform will host up to three other Earth-observing instruments that Teledyne will use for commercial applications in areas such as mapping and monitoring of forests, maritime domain awareness, oil and gas exploration, and natural disaster response.

"The signing of this agreement places Teledyne, TBE, and DLR at the forefront of the commercial use of the International Space Station," said Robert Mehrabian, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Teledyne. "We look forward to collaborating with DLR and applying our combined expertise to maximize the uniqueness of the MUSES platform and the DESIS instrument."

The DESIS instrument will be capable of imaging the Earth from the visible through the near infrared. DLR will use the precise spectral data for scientific research in atmospheric physics and Earth sciences. In addition, DLR plans to study the influence of the space environment on remote sensing instruments once the DESIS instrument is returned to Earth at the end of its mission.

"MUSES is a further step toward using the ISS for Earth observation. At the same time, it is a milestone in the international cooperation between DLR and an American industrial partner, Teledyne Brown," said Prof. Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner, CEO & President DLR German Aerospace Center and Chairman of the Executive Board.

The instruments mounted on MUSES should enable scientists and engineers to further hyperspectral remote sensing technologies for future satellites and contribute to the scientific and commercial utilization of the Space Station.

Teledyne and DLR expect DESIS to be operational on MUSES in 2016. MUSES is currently being developed by Teledyne under a cooperative agreement with NASA.

Teledyne Technologies is a leading provider of sophisticated instrumentation, digital imaging products and software, aerospace and defense electronics, and engineered systems. Teledyne Technologies' operations are primarily located in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Western and Northern Europe. For more information, visit Teledyne Technologies' website at

Forward-Looking Statements Cautionary Notice

This press release contains forward-looking statements, as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results could differ materially from these forward-looking statements. Many factors could change anticipated results, including funding, continuation and award of government programs, as well as cuts to government spending resulting from future deficit reduction measures.


CONTACT: Teledyne Technologies Incorporated 

Investor Contact:Jason VanWees, 805-373-4542


Press Contact:Robyn McGowan, 805-373-4540

SOURCE: Teledyne Technologies Incorporated. Copyright Business Wire 2014 
Access Investor Kit for Teledyne Technologies, Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO — Draper Laboratory, Dynetics and Harris Corp. are joining forces with startup OmniEarth LLC to build, launch and operate a constellation of 18 small satellites to provide global, high-resolution Earth imagery on a daily basis. The team is seeking additional partners, investors and customers for the business venture, which is expected to carry a price tag of roughly $250 million, said Lars Dyrud, OmniEarth president and chief executive.

“We are committed to obtaining scientific quality multispectral imagery everywhere, everyday and making that available to customers on a subscription basis,” said Dyrud, who also leads Draper’s Earth and Space Sciences Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In addition to imagery, OmniEarth plans to offer change-detection products and analytics to commercial, research and government organizations. Potential applications include agriculture, oil and natural gas exploration and production, mapping and geospatial services, emergency response, national security and mobile device support. “Because OmniEarth will always have the most current data, it is natural fit for information products and services via mobile platforms,” Dyrud said.

OmniEarth is one of many startups setting their sights on the growing market for high-resolution Earth imagery, including San Francisco-based Planet Labs and Skybox Imaging of Mountain View, California. OmniEarth executives say their niche will be to offer scientific-grade multispectral data of the entire planet on a daily basis. In contrast, Skybox plans to gather high-resolution video and still imagery of areas of interest to its customers. Planet Labs is seeking to fly 100 cubesats to gather imagery of the vast majority of Earth’s surface but the firm’s spacecraft do not include a multispectral sensor.

Draper will be responsible for OmniEarth specifications and systems engineering. Dynetics, an OmniEarth investor and partner, has completed initial design of the satellites, which can accommodate 110-kilogram payloads in an area of approximately one-half a cubic meter, said Mike Graves, Dynetics space vehicles technology manager.

Dynetics plans to build OmniEarth spacecraft in its Huntsville, Alabama, Solutions Complex, a 200-square-meter facility that includes a production line for small satellites. 

“Our goal is to build these first 18 satellites and keep building satellites in this payload class,” said Steve Cook, Dynetics corporate development director. “We think this is an opportunity to produce the Model T of small satellites with a lot of capacity and capability at a very low price point.” 

Harris Corp. will be responsible for marketing space on each OmniEarth satellite for hosted payloads weighing as much as 80 kilograms and for payload integration. OmniEarth is still finalizing its per-kilogram pricing for a turnkey hosted payload service that includes launch and ground support. 

“This is a unique opportunity for hosted payloads to operate in a low Earth orbit constellation,” said Janet Nickloy, vice president of strategy and business development for national programs for Melbourne, Florida-based Harris Government Communication Systems. “Given the orbit, it would be ideal for remote sensing or weather missions.”

Harris is performing a similar role in marketing hosted payload space for the Iridium Next communications constellation. “We are looking forward to leveraging that knowledge base to bring this opportunity to the community and to help OmniEarth succeed,” Nickloy said. 

In designing the OmniEarth spacecraft, Dynetics drew on its experience developing NASA’s Fast, Affordable Science and Technology Satellite (FASTSat), a spacecraft launched in 2010 through the U.S. Air Force Space Test Program from a secondary payload adapter on an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, the United Launch Alliance-supplied Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets the U.S. government uses to send large satellites into orbit.

Like FASTSat, OmniEarth satellites have been designed for launch from EELV secondary payload adapters. That design will enable the company to send into orbit as many as five spacecraft at a time from various rockets including Space Exploration Technology Corp.’s Falcon 9, Cook said.

A unique feature of the OmniEarth satellites will be their data storage and downlink capability. OmniEarth spacecraft will feature a communications downlink of more than 1.2 gigabytes per second and the ability to store 1 terabyte of data onboard, Graves said.

“It will be the first satellite in its class to support missions with this much data,” Graves said. “We will be collecting huge volumes of data to support continuous imaging as well as hosted payload operations.”

Until now, this type of data storage and downlink capability was not available for satellites of this size. It is only in the last couple of years that technology has advanced to the point where the space-based and ground-based segments could handle the volume of data produced by this type of constellation: an estimated 60 petabytes of scientific quality Earth observation data annually, Dyrud said. 

OmniEarth satellites also are designed with a high-performance propulsion system. “The constellation has critical positioning requirements to produce analytics grade data for people interested in change detection,” Graves said. “The propulsion system allows us to space these satellites very precisely throughout the orbit and maintain that position during a seven- to 10-year mission.” 

The idea for OmniEarth grew out of GEOScan, a project proposed in 2011 by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Draper Laboratory, L-1 Standards and Technology, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory to equip Iridium Next mobile communications satellites with sensors to gather data on Earth’s atmosphere, climate, oceans, gravity and space weather. While seeking partners and investors for GEOScan, Dyrud and Jonathan Fentzke, who were Applied Physics Laboratory research scientists at the time, learned of widespread commercial demand for the type of Earth imagery that could be obtained by spacecraft in sun-synchronous low Earth orbit with sensors designed to capture high-resolution multispectral data. 

In 2012, Dyrud and Fentzke established InSpace Inc., a business incubator focused on products and services supported by mobile and space-based sensors. OmniEarth is backed by InSpace Inc. and Fieldstone Partners, the Houston-based financial advisory and investment firm that helped Iridium Communications finance its Aireon LLC spinoff, a joint venture backed by Iridium Communications and Canada’s air navigation authority Nav Canada to provide commercial aircraft with air traffic management data from payloads onboard Iridium Next satellites.


Enhanced capabilities, including very high resolution and superspectral bands, will be the new benchmark for commercial earth observation

Berlin, Germany, May 15, 2014 – Following its commitment to provide continuity to the existing RapidEye constellation, today BlackBridge has released the details of the RapidEye+ constellation concept at its ENABLE 2014 Partner Conference. RapidEye+ will be a constellation of five satellites with an imaging capacity that will far exceed the current RapidEye constellation’s capacity of 5 million km2 per day.

The RapidEye+ superspectral system will include 14 bands strategically placed for applications in agriculture, vegetation monitoring, land cover discrimination, water quality, and many others. This band set also includes a panchromatic channel with resolution better than 1 meter. RapidEye+ is expected to launch in 2019, allowing significant overlap with operation of the current RapidEye constellation.

“RapidEye+ will allow BlackBridge to address the growing high resolution imagery market, with an unmatched imaging capacity,” said CEO Ryan Johnson.“It also allows us to continue to serve and grow our core markets in agriculture, REDD, and environmental monitoring with enhanced capabilities.”

BlackBridge will announce the results of a competition for the design of RapidEye+ in the coming weeks.

About BlackBridge
BlackBridge is focused on providing end to end solutions across the geospatial value chain. This includes satellite operations, data center and geocloud solutions, and worldwide satellite imagery distribution through over 100 BlackBridge partners, combined with the creation of value added products and services.

BlackBridge Contact
Nicole Heringer
Marketing Communications Manager
Kurfürstendamm 22, 10th floor
10719 Berlin, Germany
(49) 030 609 8300 516

(12 May 2014) Dauria Aerospace and Elecnor Deimos have announced a joint partnership to develop Deimos Perseus, the first satellite constellation to provide frequent imaging of the entire Earth.

These satellites will carry high quality multispectral sensors that provide for automated identification of ground features such as crop types, their vigor, and stage in the growing cycle.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Dauria in an effort to push the boundaries of small satellite imagery and create the first satellite constellation of its kind. By 2016, Deimos Perseus will be able to image the entire earth on a daily basis,” says Fabrizio Pirondini at Elecnor Deimos. “Deimos Perseus will allow for in-depth monitoring of wild fires, floods, crop yields, forest composition, among other agricultural and forestry data processing.”

Elecnor Deimos currently operates Deimos-1, an earth imaging satellite deployed in 2009, which provides wideband imagery with frequent revisits of each territory. Deimos-1 will be combined with Dauria Aerospace’s eight Perseus-O satellites and utilize a ground segment developed by Dauria and Elecnor Deimos for imagery receipt and data processing.

“The collaboration between Elecnor Deimos and Dauria will set a new standard in the small satellite industry and be in a position to better serve the rapidly growing demand for high quality, affordable space-based information services, data and communications,” says Mike Kokorich, founder and president of Dauria Aerospace. “With our innovative approach to the Deimos Perseus satellite constellation, companies around the world can benefit from frequent, whole-Earth imaging and advanced data analysis.”

The first four Perseus-O satellites are scheduled for deployment in early 2015, with the remaining four planned for the third quarter of that year. Furthermore, Dauria and Elecnor Deimos are each planning to launch additional satellites this summer. Dauria is scheduled to launch two Perseus-M – maritime surveillance satellites developed by Canopus Systems US. Elecnor Deimos is planning to launch a very-high resolution Deimos-2 satellite on board of a “Dnepr” launch vehicle. DX1, another satellite by Dauria Aerospace, is scheduled for launch on a “Soyuz” rocket. All four launches are slated to occur on June 19th.

Dauria received a $20 million investment from I2BF Global Ventures in October 2013 to support the Deimos Perseus constellation.

About Dauria Aerospace

Dauria Aerospace is a multinational aerospace company providing global data, communication and remote sensing information through the deployment of small satellite constellations. The company develops and manufactures low-cost small satellites to bring Earth imaging data directly to its customers. Additionally, by using design innovation and leveraging the rapid technology advances in smallsat components, Dauria develops lower-cost, higher performing satellites. Dauria is headquartered in Munich and has two satellite development centers at NASA Ames Research Center in California and in Skolkovo, Russia.

About Elecnor Deimos

Deimos is the technology branch of Elecnor, specialized in the design, engineering and development of solutions and system integration within the fields of space, information and communication technologies.

Elecnor Deimos is a satellite integrator specializing in Earth Observation missions on a turnkey basis with in orbit delivery, and also develops activities such as Mission Analysis, System Engineering, Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC), Attitude and Orbit Control (AOCS), Ground Segment Systems, On-board Software Systems.

Elecnor Deimos participates in all phases of a space mission design and development, for the majority of ESA missions so the company gathers a considerable expertise and capabilities in Space Programmes including the ability to carry out space missions, such as leading its own Earth Observation mission: DEIMOS-1 and very high resolution satellite DEIMOS-2 integrated on dedicated company facilities built for that purpose in Puertollano, Spain.

(source: Dauria Space)

Monitoring Oil Reserves from Space

08/04/2014. By Bruno Sánchez-Andrade Nuño (Chief Scientist, Mapbox) and Dan Berkenstock (Chief Product Officer, Skybox Imaging).

Skybox Imaging is making it easy to monitor oil reserves and other resources from space. Oil is typically stored in tanks with roofs that float to avoid breathing and evaporative losses in the space between the top of the oil and the tank ceiling. With the roof’s moving and basic trigonometry, Skybox’s satellite images can be used to estimate the fill and volume of oil containers. The ratio of length of the tank shadow casted over the outside versus the inside is proportional to be volume of oil inside the tank.

Below is an analytics use case created by Skybox co-founder Dan Berkenstock and Skybox Product Manager Ty Kennedy-Bowdoin using two SkySat-1 images of the Ras Tanura Oil facility in Saudi Arabia leveraging Mapbox's visualization tools. Using the method described above on both images, it's possible to monitor the change in volume for each tank:

Ras Tanura Najmah compound, Saudi Arabia

Here is the math of how this works:

This method can be easily expanded. Aggregating the volume values using the radius and shadows plus sun elevation we can fill the values in the formula and estimate the overall storage for the facility and how much the ship docked on the first image could have taken on board.

  • Area of the cylinder: taken directly from the image since we know the resolution.
  • Height of the cylinder: Using the the length of the shadow on a flat surface and the solar elevation (from the time/place but also typically part of the image metadata).

Mapbox's satellite pipeline allows them to process all kinds of imagery sources into orthorectified single strips and beautiful global mosaics. Continued integration between Skybox and Mapbox will further simplify the process of accessing and analyzing timely satellite imagery.


The Copernicus Masters EO Competition 2014

25/04/2013. By Andreas Jelinek, Marketing and Sales, European Space Imaging.

Copernicus Masters is a competition focusing on finding new applications for satellite data. The European Space Imaging and Skybox Imaging High-Res Challenge is seeking new and viable application ideas utilizing the sub-daily availability of very high-resolution (VHR), multispectral satellite data from the Skybox Imaging satellite constellation. This year is the first time the competition is open worldwide to participants. The winner will be awarded a European Space Imaging data package of Skybox Imaging satellite imagery worth up to EUR 20,000 for use in further developing the winning application. Applications are open until July 13th.

Getting involved is easy!

ONE:  To be part of the challenge you need to register online at After registering you  will have access to the Challenge guidelines and online proposal forms. Then you can then log-in at any time to complete and submit your proposal.

TWO: Before you get started we suggest you read the Challenge guidelines carefully to make sure you describe your idea properly. This step will ensure your idea gets through to the first round of judging. Beware. If your proposal is incomplete or addresses the incorrect criteria it will not make it through.

THREE: If the guidelines are not clear and you need further clarification, or you require special information participants are free to ask for information. You can email or ring the Copernicus Master’s organizers directly.

FOUR: Don’t fence yourself in. The European Space Imaging and Skybox Imaging High-Res Challenge is calling for ideas which specifically use SkySat imagery. But this data can be combined with the ESA Core Datasets and potentially any other data or imagery you can imagine. 


For more information about the Copernicus Masters:



VANCOUVER, April 3, 2014 / UrtheCast Corp. / Urthecast is extremely pleased to announce its first release of Earth imagery, captured by UrtheCast’s medium-resolution camera (MRC) onboard the International Space Station (ISS).

“This is a pivotal moment for the company and for everyone who’s been a part of the vision that we set in motion in 2010,” stated UrtheCast Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Scott Larson. “Our team has been working extremely hard to make certain that we reach this goal of democratizing a very powerful perspective on the world. We couldn’t be more grateful to the incredibly determined engineering teams at UrtheCast, RSC Energia, and Rutherford Appleton Laboratories.”

Captured on March 28, 2014, at 1pm GMT, this image is centered around the city of Moneague, Jamaica, and has a 6-meter GSD (Ground Sampling Distance). The photo is approximately 3200 x 8000 pixels, and covers approximately 300 square kilometers. The MRC is a multispectral, nadir-pointing imager that captures 6-meter class, 50-km wide swaths of still imagery, which will be made commercially available on the UrtheCast platform. While the images will be made available on an individual basis, they will also be processed and constantly streamed to the UrtheCast platform. This will be realized on the interactive platform as a near realtime flyover view of the planet directly below the ISS as it orbits the globe 16 times every day.

In preparation for the unveiling of its full color, Ultra HD Earth video from space, UrtheCast remains focused on the commissioning and calibration of its cameras, in addition to ground system testing and the continuation of its business plan.

To view additional UrtheCast images as they are released, visit

(15 April 2014) Surrey Satellite Technology US (SST-US) today introduced the Surrey V1C color video-imaging satellite, a new compact design with high-quality imaging at sub-one-meter resolution.

Priced at less than $20 million, the V1C design has significant space heritage and provides a 10-kilometer color video imaging swath.

The Surrey V1C satellite will collect high-definition, natural-color (red, green, blue) video with better than one-meter ground sample distance (GSD) resolution over a 10-kilometer-wide swath at up to 100 frames per second. In addition to video, the camera can operate in still scene imager mode. The Surrey V1C spacecraft is based on the new SSTL-X50 satellite bus derived from mission-proven Surrey spacecraft designs. The satellite has large onboard data storage capabilities for store and forward as well as real-time downlink technology.

SST-US announced plans for the Surrey V1C satellite in booth #2090 at the GEOINT 2013* Symposium being held this week in Tampa, Fla.

“The demand for high-quality, wide-swath video solutions from customers engaged in business analytics and U.S. geospatial intelligence missions has been a key driver behind the development of our current suite of affordable, high-value small imaging satellites. The V1C delivers next-generation video capability at a very low cost, helping close the video-derived products business case and serve intel mission profiles that require constellations for a robust end-user information products,” said Doug Gerull, SST-US’s chief operating officer.

SST-US has been developing a new complete suite of high-value, affordable small satellites for U.S. geospatial intelligence missions, Gerull explained. This suite includes the Surrey V1C and the Surrey L1 half-meter electro-optical imaging satellites announced at GEOINT. These mission-configurable spacecraft are applicable to a broad spectrum of intelligence collection requirements, such as surveillance, detection, and identification.

SST-US developed the Surrey V1C for organizations that need satellite data to be collected and analyzed quickly for situational awareness and activity-based intelligence (ABI) applications related to rapidly changing human or infrastructure conditions on the ground.

“The primary use of video imaging from space is to quickly understand activity on the ground and make informed decisions in short periods of time. The basic limitation of time-over-target for video can be overcome by a constellation of satellites made economically feasible by a low cost per spacecraft,” said Gerull.

Demonstrated architectures and cost-effective prices mean Surrey’s geospatial intelligence satellites are well suited to multi-satellite constellation configurations. Many on-orbit configurations are possible depending on the number of satellites launched—Surrey V1Cs can deploy in phased orbits trailing one another by 30 to 60 minutes, in order to provide nearly continuous video coverage during specific times of the day.

SST-US’s new manufacturing facilities in Englewood, Colorado, allow the build of V1C satellites in the U.S. and accelerate Surrey’s already proven fast build times. The Englewood facility is currently processing the Surrey Orbital Test Bed mission which will host high-value payloads from customers such as NASA JPL.

Leveraging Surrey’s 100 percent successful 41 satellite mission legacy, SST-US is also positioned to assist satellite customers with launch services and satellite command and control.

About Surrey Satellite Technology US

Surrey Satellite Technology US LLC (SST-US), a wholly owned subsidiary of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), is a Delaware-registered company with its principal offices located in Englewood, Colorado. Since its incorporation in 2008, SST-US has been addressing the requirements of the United States market and its customers for the provisions of small satellite solutions, applications, and services for Earth observation, science, technology demonstration, and communications. The activities of SST-US draw extensively on the heritage, background, and capability of all elements of the Surrey group, with a proven track record in provision of high-quality, rapid, cost-effective small satellite solutions, applications, and services.

Since 1981, Surrey has launched 41 satellites as well as provided training and development programs, consultancy services, and mission studies for NASA, the United States Air Force, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and other institutional and commercial customers with its innovative approach of “changing the economics of space.”

(source: Surrey Satellite Technology US)

VANCOUVER, Jan. 28, 2014 /CNW/ - UrtheCast Corp is very pleased to announce that its two earth imaging cameras have been successfully installed on the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS).

Contrary to the online broadcast of the installation, the telemetry was received by Mission Control Central near Moscow.  During the installation, we were able to complete all of the intended tests during the spacewalk. At this time, all telemetry received and analyzed is within our expected results.

(Jan. 27, cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazansky performed a spacewalk (EVA-37a) to reinstall the two UrtheCast cameras that were previously installed and removed during a spacewalk on Dec. 27, 2013 (EVA-37).)

"We're again extremely grateful to Energia and Roscosmos for providing such quick and efficient technical support throughout the camera installation process," explained UrtheCast's Chief Executive Officer, Scott Larson. "With the cameras now successfully installed and communicating with Mission Control, UrtheCast can now focus on the routine commissioning of the cameras in preparation for the unveiling of our Ultra HD, color video of Earth."

About UrtheCast Corp.

UrtheCast Corp. is a Vancouver-based technology company that is developing the world's first Ultra HD video feed of Earth, streamed from space in full color. Working with renowned aerospace partners from across the globe, UrtheCast has built, launched, installed and expects to operate, two cameras on the Russian segment of the ISS. Video and still image data captured by the cameras will be downlinked to ground stations across the planet and displayed on the UrtheCast web platform, or distributed directly to exclusive partners and customers. UrtheCast's cameras will provide high-resolution video and imagery of Earth that will allow for monitoring of the environment, humanitarian relief, social events, agricultural land, etc. Common shares of UrtheCast trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange as ticker 'UR'.

For more information visit our website at

UAV applications presented at ESRI PUG - London '13


See the agenda of the recent ESRI PUG in London

Day 1 -  14th November 2013





Calum Shand, Shell UK Ltd and Stuart Thomas, Cyberhawk

The Innovative Acquisition of Hi-Res Base Map Imagery from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles & their Web Map Application for Shell’s Scottish Terminals

The Shell Geo-Information Team in Aberdeen had been working on a new Web Map for their Scottish Onshore Terminals but had struggled to find any quality, low cost base map imagery. In a moment of serendipity, we discovered that multi-rotor UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) had been deployed at the Brent Delta Platform for the purposes of Inspection & Integrity monitoring (as part of a wider Decommissioning Project). On learning that Cyberhawk, the Scottish based commercial UAV service provider, also had a Survey Division, we opportunistically “piggy backed” their Engineering Inspection Campaign for the procurement of Geo-referenced Aerial Orthophotos at the respective Mossmorran, Braefoot Bay & St. Fergus Terminal sites. The paper highlights how the imagery was acquired via a fixed wing UAV (a “first” for Shell) and then integrated with other data sets as we sought to deliver a general purpose/emergency response style Integrated Web Map. At the time of writing, the scope of the project has now matured to include “Google Streetview” style 360° imagery & more multi-rotor Oblique Photos which can be leveraged for both Engineering & Situational Awareness purposes. This paper shall be co-authored & presented with Cyberhawk who will summarise their own learning’s with regards to constraints, acquisition / processing workflows & image optimization.

David Edem, Tullow Oil

Tullow Oil is committed to planning and monitoring its East African onshore operations especially around well sites and camps, which includes well pad restoration, planning facilities locations, new roads, as well as species monitoring. These assignments require ultra-high resolution (<10cm) aerial imagery taken at regular and flexible intervals and traditional aerial surveys by manned aircraft / satellite imagery are expensive and often lack the required resolution.
The Tullow GIS team has adopted UAV technology to solve this challenge. Lightweight hand launched fixed winged UAVs are being used in East Africa to acquire aerial imagery at 5cm resolution with same day image processing and delivery. The UAVs are quiet, battery operated, with a flight endurance of up to 45 minutes, are easy to use and can be rapidly deployed.
This paper will share Tullow’s experiences of UAV implementation since 2011, including obtaining governmental permissions, operational challenges and existing/potential applications of UAV technology.



Tullow enhances decision making with GIS

The independent oil and gas exploration and production company, Tullow Oil, is using geographic information system (GIS) technology in conjunction with unmanned drones to obtain highly accurate site information, cost effectively. This innovative initiative is helping the organisation to improve both operational efficiency and its sustainable approach to oil exploration in Africa.

Tullow Oil has active exploration programmes across several African countries and a high success rate in discovering commercial hydrocarbons. Key to all exploration projects is the need to survey sites to gather information that is vitally important for decision-making. The company now uses Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to fly over these locations and acquire aerial imagery in ultra-high resolution. These images are then combined with other key datasets utilising Esri technology to give the organisation a near real-time view of its exploration sites.

“Our utilisation of GIS and UAV technology adds significant value to Tullow’s operations. The integration of ultra-high resolution images from 
UAVs with Esri technology provides a visual and analytical platform that delivers key information for decision-making.”

David Edem, Head of Technology Delivery, Tullow Oil

This combined use of GIS and UAVs is expected to deliver sustainable long term cost savings. The in-depth analysis facilitated by Esri technology enables Tullow Oil to examine well sites in precise detail and consider a wide range of environmental and operational factors. Managers can make quick development decisions about African wells based on accurate, up-to-date information from their desktops, rather than having to commission expensive and time consuming on-site surveys. GIS is also integral in helping Tullow Oil monitor the impact of its exploration activity on the environment. Imagery acquired before, during and after drilling can be combined using Esri technology to create a
seamless, interactive picture of change over time. The clarity this provides then helps Tullow to demonstrate to government and other stakeholders its ongoing commitment to its environmental obligations by restoring the land to its original pre-drilling condition.

Source ThinkGIS online