France debates its near-space policy

To start off 2023, the Chief of Staff of the French Air Force organized a colloquium on Very High Altitude Operations, meaning operations between conventional airplane altitudes, under 20km, and "orbital space" above 100km. It featured Air Force officials, but also the companies and research institutes involved in developing platforms able to fly at these… Continue reading France debates its near-space policy

High-altitude Pseudosatellites, the future of Earth observation?

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?

Persistent Surveillance

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

What do users really want, anyway?

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?

The Future of Optical Earth Observation

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