Urthecast video cameras to circle the globe
Canadian group Urthecast plans to put a 16-satellite constellation in orbit to image the Earth. Urthecast already has a pair of cameras on the International Space Station, one of which returns short videos. The new proposal would see free-flying optical and radar sensors circling the globe by the start of the next decade.
Urthecast has asked the UK manufacturer SSTL to make the satellites, and the Spanish concern Elecnor Deimos to design the ground control segment. The Canadian firm's vision remains the same, to try to push out high volumes of data in easily accessible ways. It says it wants to drive Earth imagery beyond its traditional customer base, to enable new "Big Data" applications and even social media sharing.
"The goal here is to take vast amounts of Earth observation imagery from multiple sensors, and to put it all on to a very user-friendly, cloud-based platform that allows people then to manipulate the data, to use it, to display it, and to transfer it on to other types of platforms and applications," Wade Larson, Urthecast's president and chief operating officer, told BBC News.
US firm Skybox Imaging, acquired by Google last year, is also building a constellation of video cameras in orbit.