Microsatellites, such as ICEYE, seem to be very profitable from the point of view of economy thanks to their tiny size.
Small and inexpensive satellites capable of working in groups to increase productivity, as well as technology that reduces the loss of satellite data, are two of the latest innovations that promise to provide a more detailed look at our planet.
Space is a hostile place not only for life, but also for business. Building and launching a traditional car-sized satellite can cost hundreds of millions of euros. However, the situation changes with the launch of miniature versions.
Among startups stands ICEYE microsatellite manufacturer. This company aims to reduce satellite prices to less than a hundredth of the traditional prices. To do this, it is planned to create a series of microsatellites, partially formed already from ready-made mobile electronics.
In January, the company sent the world's first microsatellite based on synthetic aperture radar technology, allowing the device to see through clouds and darkness from a near-earth orbit at an altitude of about 500 km. ICEYE-X1 is the first of three satellites that are planning to launch this year. In size reaches a small suitcase and weighs 70 kg. By 2020, they are going to launch 18 vehicles. ICEYE says bad weather makes it difficult to get a picture in 75% of the shooting time. But their technology avoids this.
Now the satellites update the data about once every 12 hours. But the presence of 6 devices from ICEYE will reduce the time to two hours.
There are many areas in which new technology is useful: from agricultural production to tracking climate change. One of the key surveillance priorities of ICEYE is to monitor glaciers for companies involved in arctic operations.
This revolutionary technology appeared at a time when satellites manage to generate an unprecedented amount of data. One way to handle the growing flow of information is to find the best methods for returning information to Earth. Unfortunately, a lot of information on delivery is lost. Therefore, there is a project RAVEN, working to improve signal transmission. For this adaptive optics is used. It is used primarily in telescopes so that astronomers can get clearer pictures of stars, reducing flicker when viewing through the distorting picture of the atmosphere. Faster data advancement would solve the problem and create future low-orbit satellites. They are endowed with a more limited visibility range at ground stations and a smaller window for transmitting information (a window of 10-15 minutes). Accelerating speed will lead to their ability to convey more information.
In addition, this technology is planned to be used in creating satellite constellations for intelligent data routing in the most efficient way. This will not only reduce the number of ground stations, but also accelerate the movement of information, allowing you to avoid serious delays.