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Entries by Izzy Taylor

Op-ed: The Golden Age of European Earth Observation

Op-ed: The Golden Age of European Earth Observation

In the past two decades, European priorities for space have had a clear focus: not about a race to space, but about making what we do in space relevant to humans down on Earth. Last month, the world watched as Europe launched their latest satellite, Sentinel-5p, making the Copernicus program fully operational and collecting terabytes of data per day.

When coupled with the operational Galileo program — Europe’s position, navigation and timing constellation — Europe has realized its two-decade goal of an independent Earth observation program for the environment and security, turning the page to begin the golden age of European […] Read more

UrtheCast and Twenty First Aerospace Technology Sign a Strategic Partnership

UrtheCast and Twenty First Aerospace Technology Sign a Strategic Partnership

UrtheCast Corp. (TSX:UR) (“UrtheCast” or the “Company”), and Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology Co. Ltd (“21AT”), China’s largest independent commercial satellite operator and non-governmental investor in remote sensing satellite systems, today announced a long-term strategic partnership to acquire geospatial data from the UrtheDailyTM Constellation, UrtheCast’s planned constellation of Earth observation satellites which will deliver daily, medium resolution imagery of the entire planet’s landmass, excluding Antarctica.

By entering into this agreement, 21AT becomes a key anchor partner for the UrtheDailyTM Constellation and UrtheCast’s strategic partner for UrtheDailyTM Constellation data within the large Chinese market. 21AT, already one of the world’s leading providers […] Read more

Crossing Drones with Satellites: ESA Eyes High-Altitude Aerial Platforms

ESA is considering extending its activities to a new region of the sky via a novel type of aerial vehicle, a ‘missing link’ between drones and satellites.

High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites, or HAPS, are platforms that float or fly at high altitude like conventional aircraft but operate more like satellites – except that rather than working from space they can remain in position inside the atmosphere for weeks or even months, offering continuous coverage of the territory below.

The best working altitude is about 20 km, above the clouds and jet streams, and 10 km above commercial airliners, where wind speeds are low […] Read more

Sentinel-5P Brings Air Pollution into Focus

Sentinel-5P Brings Air Pollution into Focus

Launched on 13 October, the Sentinel-5P satellite has delivered its first images of air pollution. Even though the satellite is still being prepared for service, these first results have been hailed as exceptional and show how this latest Copernicus satellite is set to take the task of monitoring air quality into a new era.

This new mission promises to image air pollutants in more detail than ever before. And, while these first results demonstrate the sophistication of the satellite’s instrument, they certainly bring the issue of air pollution sharply into focus.

One of these first images shows nitrogen dioxide over Europe. Caused […] Read more

International Charter Wins Prestigious Pecora Award

International Charter Wins Prestigious Pecora Award

The International Charter Space and Major Disasters has received a distinguished award for providing free satellite imagery, data and information to the global community during times of crises.

The William Thomas Pecora Award is presented annually to recognise outstanding contributions by individuals or teams using remote sensing to understand Earth, educate the next generation of scientists, inform decision-makers or support natural or human-induced disaster response.

The award has been presented annually since 1974, in honour of William Thomas Pecora, former director of the US Geological Service and under-secretary of the US Department of the Interior.

Dr Pecora was a motivating force behind the […] Read more

Secrets of Hidden Ice Canyons Revealed

Secrets of Hidden Ice Canyons Revealed

We are all aware that Antarctica’s ice shelves are thinning, but recently scientists have also discovered huge canyons cutting through the underbelly of these shelves, potentially making them even more fragile. Thanks to the CryoSat and Sentinel-1 missions, new light is being shed on this hidden world.

Antarctica is surrounded by ice shelves, which are thick bands of ice that extend from the ice sheet and float on the coastal waters. They play an important role in buttressing the ice sheet on land, effectively slowing the sheet’s flow as it creeps seaward.

The ice sheet that covers Antarctica is, by its very […] Read more

ESA Takes the Reins of the Disaster Charter

ESA Takes the Reins of the Disaster Charter

When disaster strikes, a group of international space agencies pools its resources and expertise to support relief efforts on the ground. For the next six months, ESA will be leading the International Charter Space and Major Disasters as it brings information from satellites to the aid of the vulnerable.

Every six months, a different member takes the role of Primus Inter Pares – or Charter lead. Last week, ESA took over this role for the sixth time, and is responsible for ensuring that the Charter’s policies and rules are respected.

ESA will also develop new partnerships with the space and the disaster […] Read more

Sentinel-5P: Satellite in Excellent Health

Sentinel-5P: Satellite in Excellent Health

Launched last week, Europe’s Sentinel-5P satellite – the first Copernicus mission dedicated to monitoring the air we breathe – is in excellent health.

The 820 kg satellite was lofted into orbit from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia last Friday on a Rockot.

The satellite will use its state-of-the-art Tropomi instrument to monitor our atmosphere, mapping a multitude of gases that affect the air we breathe, our climate and human health.

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Ireland Signs Up To Copernicus Sentinel Agreement

Ireland Signs Up To Copernicus Sentinel Agreement

ESA and Enterprise Ireland have signed an agreement that gives Ireland access to data from the Copernicus Sentinel satellites and helps Ireland to exploit these data to benefit their country.

The agreement was signed on 13 October at ESA in the Netherlands just before the Copernicus Sentinel-5P launch event.

Sentinel-5P, which will monitor air pollution, blasted off at 09:27 GMT from Russia. It joins five other Sentinel satellites in orbit that are already delivering a wealth of complementary imagery and data for the Copernicus services.

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Hurricane Watch: How Satellites Track Huge Storms from Space

Hurricane Watch: How Satellites Track Huge Storms from Space

Sophisticated satellites are helping scientists monitor the volatility of Hurricanes Irma, Katia and Jose in the Atlantic basin. As the spacecraft capture data on the massive storms, weather agencies can merge the different observations to create accurate forecasts about where the hurricanes are traveling, the strength of their winds and which communities should start emergency preparations.

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) developed satellites through NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS) to carry instruments into low-Earth orbit that can make nuanced detections of rainfall, cloud formations and the microphysics of these hurricanes.

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