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Beam... Imagery Impetus

smjune'10eadsastrium The TanDEM-X radar satellite, designed and built by Astrium (Friedrichshafen), was successfully launched on Monday, June 21st). A Russian Dnepr launch vehicle carrying the huge satellite, which has a launch mass of more than 1.3 metric tons and measures five meters in length, lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Approximately 10 minutes later, the satellite separated from the launch vehicle’s upper stage. The first signals from the satellite were received by the Norwegian “Troll” ground station in Antarctica at 04:45 hours. TanDEM-X will operate in tandem with its almost identical twin, the smjune'10tandem TanDEM-X radar satellite TerraSAR-X satellite that became operational in 2007. Together, the pair of satellites will survey the entire surface of the Earth from an altitude of 514 kilometers. They will pass over each region many times, gathering data with which to construct an elevation model of the globe — covering no less than 150 million square kilometers.

smjune'10digitalglobe DigitalGlobe (NYSE: DGI) has an agreement under which the company provides high-resolution imagery for DeLorme’s Earthmate series, including the PN-30, PN-40 and PN-60 models. Through this agreement, hikers, climbers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, will be able to update their DeLorme Earthmate GPS device with highly accurate imagery for real-world perspective that exists between the lines of a traditional map. DigitalGlobe’s imagery is available in tandem with the release of DeLorme’s latest handheld GPS device, the Earthmate PN-60w with SPOT Satellite Communicator. In addition to offering premium imagery content, this GPS and satellite communication product will be the first handheld GPS navigation device capable of sending customized text messages even when the user is operating far beyond the range of cellular communications. Imagery will be available for the DeLorme devices on a subscription basis.

smjune'10eumetsat EUMETSAT, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, held its 70th Council meeting in Rome, Italy, where the Second Generation EUMETSAT Polar System took further shape. The Council agreed that a two satellite configuration be studied in Phase A, with distributed payloads for the two satellites. In regard to Jason-3, the Council approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). smjuly'10jason-3
The Council also approved the Cooperation Agreement between EUMETSAT and the Italian National Meteorological Service (NMS) on the Continuous Development and Operations Phase (CDOP) of the Satellite Application Facility on Support to Hydrology and Operational Water Management, led by the Italian NMS. The CDOP will cover the period between September 2010 and February 2012. Also discussed was Sentinel-1, smjuly'10sentinel1
which will be the first Earth observation satellite to be built for Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) program. The EUMETSAT Council also reaffirmed the role of EUMETSAT in the European Space Policy and in GMES through the adoption of a dedicated resolution. In the GMES context, the European Commission is responsible for the interaction with user communities to specify European space systems in support of European policies. EUMETSAT could be the European entity supporting the EU for the GMES activities related to operational oceanography, atmospheric composition monitoring and climate monitoring.

smjuly'10geoimage Geoimage Pty Ltd . idirect ad sm 070810
has unveiled their new and improved website, which provides extensive information on Geoimage’s imagery products and services as well as information on the current commercial optical and radar satellites. Also, information as to how GIS and remote sensing assists industries such as mining and exploration, agriculture, environmental management and engineering, will be found at the new site. The image galleries show the sample imagery at various resolutions, and the list of the most Frequently Asked Questions is designed to assist viewers gather the information they require quickly and easily. As satellite imagery is used by a range of industries in Australia and overseas, there is also a large amount of information explaining how spatial imagery and analysis can assist clients make their projects more cost-effective and efficient.

Here’s Looking @ Earth... JAXA
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hayabusa spacecraft streaked across the sky like a saber of light through the clouds as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere over the Woomera Test Range in Australia. In Kingoonya, the spacecraft’s re-entry was visible to the human eye for only 15 seconds.

Orbital Sciences
Orbital Sciences Corporation is celebrating the second anniversary of the launch of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope spacecraft, which has performed flawlessly over the initial two years of its mission to supply scientists with important new data about the nature of the universe. In the second year of operation the spacecraft, which is based on the mid-class low-Earth orbit platform that Orbital recently acquired, established an overall system availability of 100 percent, providing continuous scientific data and enabling the mission team to lower costs by reducing staff needed for routine spacecraft operations. The spacecraft began its mission known as GLAST (Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope) when it was launched in June 2008 and was later renamed in honor of famed physicist Enrico Fermi. Its two payloads, the Large Area Telescope (LAT) and the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM), have been continuously mapping and providing data on the sources of gamma rays, the most energetic form of radiation in the universe. The LAT maps the cosmos for gamma rays using a “Sky-Survey” mode of operation, in which it maps the entire gamma-ray sky every two orbits, or just over a three-hour period, providing scientists with a continual picture of the dynamic gamma-ray universe. For the past two years, the Fermi space-based observatory has been generating a rich stream of data for the scientific community, providing the basis for numerous publications and symposia. The Project Scientist for the Fermi mission, Julie McEnery, notes that each month scientists are publishing an average of almost 30 new papers based on data from the Fermi spacecraft.

The Fermi spacecraft is built on a platform engineered and constructed by the General Dynamics satellite unit that Orbital acquired in April 2010. The acquisition brought 325 new employees and a state-of-the-art 135,000 square foot space systems manufacturing, integration and test facility under Orbital, which now offers a comprehensive range of small- and mid-size space systems to meet the needs of the scientific, defense and intelligence, and commercial space communities for low-Earth orbit and geosynchronous orbit missions.

Thales Alenia Space
smjune'10thales smjuly'10gfo
Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with Ball Aerospace covering the preliminary phase for the GFO-2 RA altimeter, which will equip the new-generation Geosat Follow-On 2 (GFO-2) satellite. This phase covers the definition, design and system compatibility aspects; the final contract for the production of the altimeter is expected by the end of 2010. Ball Aerospace is the program’s prime contractor on behalf of the U.S. Navy. The measurements provided by this new-generation GFO-2 will cover all of the planet’s oceans, delivering vital data for military strategy. As a partner in this program, Thales Alenia Space will develop the bi-frequency altimeter, using a technology derived from the Poseidon family of altimeters, already in operation on the Jason series of oceanography satellites. Thales Alenia Space and Ball Aerospace have already teamed up on climatology, since the Caliop instrument built by Ball Aerospace was integrated in the Calipso satellite in Thales Alenia Space’s clean rooms, within the scope of the partnership between NASA and French space agency CNES.