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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Sentinel-1 Speeds Up Crop Insurance Payouts

Sentinel-1 Speeds Up Crop Insurance Payouts

For the first time in India, a state government is using satellites to assess lost crops so that farmers can benefit from speedy insurance payouts.

The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is home to around 68 million people, of which almost a million are rice farmers. However, Tamil Nadu is facing the worst drought in 140 years, leading to the land being too dry for paddy fields, lost yield, widespread misery and unrest.

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New Era in Air-Quality Monitoring a Step Away

New Era in Air-Quality Monitoring a Step Away

The Sentinel-5P satellite has arrived in Plesetsk in northern Russia to be prepared for liftoff on 13 October. Built to deliver global maps of air pollutants every day and in more detail than ever before, this latest Copernicus mission will set a new standard for monitoring air quality.

Sentinel-5P is the first Copernicus mission dedicated to monitoring our atmosphere. It follows five other Sentinel satellites already in orbit and delivering a wealth of information about our planet.

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SpaceX notches 15th landing after launching overdue Formosat-5

SpaceX notches 15th landing after launching overdue Formosat-5

A SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully launched a long-delayed remote sensing satellite for the government of Taiwan Aug. 24, executing another first stage landing in the process.

The Falcon 9 lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 2:51 p.m. Eastern, at the beginning of a 42-minute launch window. SpaceX reported no technical issues during the countdown, and foggy conditions at the launch site earlier in the morning partially cleared by launch time.

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Planet’s SkySat High-Resolution Earth Observation Smallsat’s Built By SSL Ready for Launch

Planet’s SkySat High-Resolution Earth Observation Smallsat’s Built By SSL Ready for Launch

In a first for the industry, six satellites, built in California, to be launched in California, for a California company have arrived at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, where they are scheduled to be launched on a Minotaur rocket in October.  Space Systems Loral (SSL), a leading provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, built the six high-resolution small satellites for Planet for its SkySat Earth observation constellation – a fleet Planet gained through the acquisition of the Terra Bella business from Google, Inc. in April 2017. The satellites will double Planet’s high resolution imaging capabilities and help deliver information to users about our physical world […] Read more

Space invaders and the usual suspects – disruptive trends in Earth observation

Space invaders and the usual suspects – disruptive trends in Earth observation

Earth observation systems for the most critical institutional needs, including defence intelligence, have historically been dedicated assets predominantly owned and operated by governments or public organisations. Now, the high degree of convergence between defence needs and commercial capacities, together with the NewSpace revolution, is challenging this paradigm and affecting all stakeholders, from established commercial operators to NewSpace actors and nations with new ambitions in space.

Since the launch of Landsat 1 in 1972 and the failed attempt at privatisation of the Landsat programme by EOSAT (Earth Observation Satellite Company), different types of Earth observation (EO) models have been developed and several […] Read more

Soyuz rocket lifts off with 73 satellites

Soyuz rocket lifts off with 73 satellites

A Russian Soyuz booster lifted off Friday from Kazakhstan on a complex mission to deploy 73 satellites into three different orbits, including a Russian spacecraft to locate forest fires, 48 CubeSats for Planet’s global Earth observation fleet, and eight nanosatellites for Spire Global’s commercial weather network.

The Soyuz-2.1a rocket fired into space at 0636:49 GMT (2:36:49 a.m. EDT; 12:36:49 p.m. Kazakh time) from Launch Pad No. 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodome in Kazakhstan.

Heading north from the Central Asia space base, the Soyuz shed its four strap-on rocket engines less than two minutes after liftoff, followed by the release of the rocket’s […] Read more

See our seasons change

See our seasons change

With the Copernicus Sentinel-3A satellite fully fledged and its data freely available, the task of monitoring and understanding our changing planet has been made that much easier. Seeing the effect spring has on our plant life is just one of its many uses.

Launched in February 2016 and carrying a suite of instruments, Sentinel-3 is the most complex of all the Sentinel missions.

As the workhorse mission for Europe’s environmental monitoring Copernicus programme, it measures Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere systematically so that large-scale global changes can be monitored and understood. While Sentinel-3 offers this ‘big picture’, it can also be […] Read more

Iceberg twice size of Luxembourg breaks off Antarctic ice shelf

Iceberg twice size of Luxembourg breaks off Antarctic ice shelf

A giant iceberg twice the size of Luxembourg has broken off an ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula and is now adrift in the Weddell Sea.

Reported to be “hanging by a thread” last month, the trillion-tonne iceberg was found to have split off from the Larsen C segment of the Larsen ice shelf on Wednesday morning after scientists examined the latest satellite data from the area.

The Larsen C ice shelf is more than 12% smaller in area than before the iceberg broke off – or “calved” – an event that researchers say has changed the landscape of the Antarctic peninsula […] Read more

EU could drive global innovation in Earth observation data

EU could drive global innovation in Earth observation data

Copernicus – a joint project between the EU and the European Space Agency (ESA) that uses satellites and ground sensors to monitor the environment – is the world’s largest civil Earth observation programme, producing over 8 petabytes per year.

Earth observation data has many important uses, such as tracking deforestation and rising sea levels, helping farmers and fisheries to operate sustainably, and monitoring humanitarian crises.

But Copernicus is not the world’s only supplier, and if the EU and others agreed to provide standardised Earth observation data through a shared and trusted platform, that platform could support additional innovative uses of data in […] Read more