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Entries by Izzy Taylor

Shifting lines and new horizons in Earth observation markets

Shifting lines and new horizons in Earth observation markets

The growth in demand for Earth observation (EO) data has triggered significant interest by established operators and NewSpace companies whose strategies are a mixture of higher resolution and higher revisit. There are two main options: the high end approach, with increased imagery resolution for customers acknowledging the value of these products and the service approach, which assumes that value comes from the information and services derived from EO data. Expanding on their first article on disruptive trends in EO (ROOM, Summer 2017), the authors now add a prospective dimension, reviewing possible scenarios and their consequences, addressing the convergence between commercial […] Read more

Safeguarding Our Most Precious Resource: Water

Safeguarding Our Most Precious Resource: Water

According to this year’s Global Risk Report by the World Economic Forum, water crises are one of the five biggest risks to society. ESA is working with development banks to help water-resource authorities use information from satellites to manage this precious resource.

With water under pressure from over-exploitation and pollution, one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

While progress is being made, there are ever-increasing demands for freshwater, especially for agriculture. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization states that 70% of the freshwater drawn is used for […] Read more

ESA Partners with Iceye to Explore Earth Observation Opportunities

ESA Partners with Iceye to Explore Earth Observation Opportunities

Iceye has announced a partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA) to mutually explore opportunities provided by Iceye’s technology. The cooperation encompasses activities that focus on the design of Iceye’s microsatellite and its X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instrument, as well as identifying the most promising applications for the data collected by such a microsatellite constellation.

According to Iceye, its Earth Observation (EO) data benefits both researchers and a wide range of commercial industries. Challenging issues such as natural disaster response and climate change research, oil spill and illegal fishing detection all require repeated and timely imaging, regardless of the weather conditions or time […] Read more

Radar returns to remote sensing through free, near-real-time global imagery

Radar returns to remote sensing through free, near-real-time global imagery

Satellite imagery has transformed how we assess changes in forest cover.

The standard optical sensors carried by Earth-orbiting satellites capture the energy from sunlight reflected off objects on the Earth’s surface. These sensors recognize levels of brightness and color in the reflectance, which enables users to distinguish between greener and browner vegetation, or row crops and savannah, as well as among objects, such as tree species, with different chemical properties.

They cannot, however, see though clouds. Clouds block the reflectance data from reaching the sensor, which limits the effectiveness of even high-resolution (3-5 meter) satellite data, such as Planet or DigitalGlobe, in rainy regions like the Amazon.

The Monitoring of the Andean […] Read more

Regional Data Cube to Help Manage Food Security in Africa

Regional Data Cube to Help Manage Food Security in Africa

The African Regional Data Cube has been launched at the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’s inaugural Data for Development Festival in the United Kingdom. This new tool harnesses the latest Earth observation and satellite technology to help Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Tanzania address food security as well as issues relating to agriculture, deforestation, and water access. The Committee on Earth Observation Satellite (CEOS) in partnership with the Group on Earth Observations, Amazon Web Services, and Strathmore University in Kenya developed the data cube.

While satellite data is not new, it has traditionally been difficult to access and use, limiting its […] Read more

Sentinel 3B Good to Go

Sentinel 3B Good to Go

After being put through its paces to make sure it is fit for life in orbit around Earth, the Copernicus Sentinel-3B satellite is ready to be packed up and shipped to Russia for liftoff.

Its twin, Sentinel-3A, has been in orbit since February 2016, systematically measuring our oceans, land, ice and atmosphere. The information feeds a range of practical applications and is used for monitoring and understanding large-scale global dynamics.

The pairing of identical satellites provides the best coverage and data delivery for Europe’s Copernicus programme – the largest environmental monitoring programme in the world.

Sentinel-3B has spent the last year at Thales […] Read more

Space Helps Forests Regenerate

Space Helps Forests Regenerate

Many of us probably think of trees during the festive season more than any other time of the year. With Christmas trees now discarded and decorations packed away, we will be turning our attention back to daily life. The task of cultivating and regenerating forests, however, is a year-long concern – but one that can be made easier and cheaper thanks to satellites and cloud-computing.

In Finland, conifers are not only the most common native species of tree, but economically the most important. Once the trees have been felled, seedlings are planted as part of the regeneration process.

Click here to read […] Read more

Prototype satellite makes way for 4K ‘Earth observation’

Prototype satellite makes way for 4K ‘Earth observation’

British company Earth-i confirmed the successful launch of a prototype satellite earlier today. Called the CARBONITE-2, it’s an early test version of a planned constellation (the Vivid-i) that will be the first network bringing full color, full motion video from Earth’s orbit.

The prototype satellite has a UHD camera aboard, which will be able to capture high-res images of locations anywhere on Earth, as well as record up to two minutes of video similar to Urthecast. It’s just the first step for Earth-i, though; the company plans to use CARBONITE-2 to prove that its tech is viable, as well as demonstrate what the eventual […] Read more

Earth Observing System: Monitoring the Planet’s Climate

Earth Observing System: Monitoring the Planet’s Climate

NASA is well known for observating space, but the agency also has a strong hand in monitoring Earth. NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) is a collection of satellites designed to monitor and understand key components of the climate system and their interactions over an extended period.

“NASA and other space agencies had launched satellites to study [Earth] before,” the agency said in a press release after EOS had operated for a decade and a half. “But the past 15 years have produced a more comprehensive look at Earth from space than any other period in history. At a time when our […] Read more

Elon Musk’s huge Falcon Heavy rocket set for launch

Elon Musk’s huge Falcon Heavy rocket set for launch

Elon Musk is attempting to fly the world’s most powerful rocket with his own sports car on the top. The US entrepreneur’s Falcon Heavy launcher is designed to have twice the lifting capacity of any other vehicle, but because of the historic high failure rate of maiden flights, only a dummy payload is being risked. Mr Musk has decided this should be his old cherry-red Tesla roadster with a space-suited mannequin strapped in the driver’s seat. David Bowie’s classic hit Space Oddity will be looping on the radio as the car is hurled into an elliptical orbit that stretches […] Read more