Persistent observation, a persistent problem For all the improvements in spatial and spectral resolution, agility and accuracy, satellites suffer from one serious drawback: they have to follow the laws of orbital mechanics and keep moving around the Earth. This means they cannot hang around an interesting location, to keep a persistent watch on it, except… Continue reading High-altitude Pseudosatellites, the future of Earth observation?
Following the previous post on Airbus’ SAR strategy, we will look at another interesting presentation from ESA's 2018 “Φ-week”, this time on an imaging payload for cubesats presented by French company Safran Reosc. Safran Reosc is a long-time supplier of space optics, specializing in polishing and coating telescopes for Thales Alenia Space or Airbus for… Continue reading Safran’s high-performance imager for cubesats
In November 2018, ESA held a series of talks on the future of Earth observation. It was part of the agency's "Φ-week" event and took place at ESA’s Earth observation center in Frascati, Italy, and the participants ranged from large space primes to small startups. The full recording of the event is available there. This… Continue reading Airbus’ SAR strategy
In the article on Persistent Surveillance, I described the options for keeping a constant, 24/7 watch on a location though the use of high-altitude satellites. Those options are all expensive and technically risky. However, as hinted at in the article, there is a more straightforward way to achieve same goal, or at least to come… Continue reading Smallsat constellations
The future of Earth observation, Part III This post is a part of a series on the future of earth observation, and is a follow up to The Future of Optical Earth Observation I: The road so far and The Future of Earth Observation II: What do users really want, anyway? Originally, satellite imagery consisted of… Continue reading Persistent Surveillance
The Future of Earth Observation, Part II Earth observation satellites do not come cheap. As mentioned in the previous post of this series, until a few years ago, they could cost a few hundred million dollars a piece to build and launch. This makes satellite observation expensive, even for organisations that only buy the images.… Continue reading What do users really want, anyway?
Part I: The road so far Commercial Earth observation is undergoing rapid changes: much like rocket companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and a handful of others are challenging the established players in the launch industry, new ways of doing things are being introduced by "new space" companies in the commercial Earth Observation business. Can… Continue reading The Future of Optical Earth Observation