A British company is planning to launch a network of satellites that can take high resolution coloured images and videos of the Earth, which could be used to track individual vehicles from space. A prototype spacecraft is set to be launched later this year for testing. Five more such platforms will follow in 2019. The train of satellites will deliver rapid, high- resolution imagery of the planet in still and video formats. At best resolution, the images will capture features just under a metre across.
The images would enable 3D models of the ground to be constructed, and videos could be used to track moving objects such as cars and other vehicles, according to UK-based company Earth-i. UK-based manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) has developed a new class of Earth observation spacecraft codenamed Carbonite.
The first in this series was built in just six months and was launched in 2015. The lessons learned from that experience were then applied to the new satellite of the Earth-i constellation. “We worked on Carbonite-1 with SSTL and studied the performance to help develop the technology for Carbonite-2 which we will be calling EiX2,” said Richard Blain, CEO of Earth-i. “As for the constellation, we will launch that in batches of five,” Blain told ‘BBC News’.
“Our baseline plan is for the first batch to go into one orbital plane, and then for the following batches to go into different planes, so that not only do we get a high-frequency revisit to places on Earth but we also get to see places at different times of the day,” he said. Earth’s constellation would be the first European system to provide HD video of activity on the ground.