Australia to Create Space Agency
The Australian government announced last week the creation of a national space agency. The move is a major step forward in the country’s recent efforts to expand its domestic space economy.
Following this news, Australian defence industry minister Christopher Pyne announced two new space programs. One is a three-year deal between the Royal Australian Air Force and the University of New South Wales Canberra that will launch three mini satellites to test communications, remote sensing, and spaceflight modeling. The other program, called High Altitude Sensing Systems, will involve investment in and research of high frequency satellite sensors as well as land and ocean imaging systems.
Planet to Launch SkySats
Planet announced it will launch six SkySats and four Dove satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base October 17. This will be the first time Planet has launched SkySats since its acquisition of Terra Bella from Google in February. As the launch’s only customer, Planet was able to specify the launch timing and target orbit as a sun-synchronous, 500 km orbit with a 1:30 p.m. crossing time. This orbit will complement the company’s existing morning-SSO constellation and maximize revisit rates.
RAND Researchers Publish Roadmap to Success for NGA
RAND National Defense Research Institute published a “Roadmap to Succeed in the Open for NGA’s Human Development Directorate.” The document is a guide to achieving the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) missions and accessing information and resources in unclassified environments.
Geospatial Corporation Approved as IGAPP Vendor
Geospatial Corporation was approved as a vendor for the Innovative GEOINT Application Provider Program (IGAPP), a supply chain of geospatial apps for NGA, managed by Engility. Geospatial Corporation plans to submit a free GeoUnderground Android app to the IGAPP store. Having approved vendor status will fortify Geospatial Corporation’s presence as a solution provider in the Intelligence Community and broader federal sector.
Orbital Insight Reveals Extent of Hurricane Harvey Flooding
Image processing startup Orbital Insight applied intelligent detection algorithms to satellite imagery of areas flooded by Hurricane Harvey and found staggering results. Preliminary analysis shows the extent of the flooding is actually three times the size previously reported. The difference is Orbital’s ability to interpret specialized Synthetic Aperture Radar data, which is unimpeded by the same cloud cover that stymied other flood measurement efforts.