2_5 Earth Imaging Broadcast (Rosetta Mission, QuickBird Retires and More)

Hello, and welcome to this Earth Imaging themed GeoSpatial Stream. I’m your host, Todd Danielson, and today’s Lead Sponsor is Exelis Visual Information Solutions.

Today’s Top Story is the Rosetta Mission. Yes, it’s a little beyond our own planet right now, but the entire project will have lasting effects on Earth imaging and science.

In case you missed it, the Rosetta spacecraft was launched in 2004 and has orbited the sun three times, using gravity as a slingshot, to travel about 6.4 billion kilometers. It’s now about 450 million kilometers from Earth, one of many records the mission has set.

In August 2014, it encountered its target, a comet known as 67p, and in November 2014, it landed on the comet, took some amazing pictures, and sent back some valuable measurements that scientists hope can unlock the secrets of comets and possibly the creation of Earth and even life itself. That’s a pretty serious endeavor.

The satellite’s comet lander experienced some technical problems when it landed under very difficult conditions, and it’s unsure how much more data scientists will receive, if any. Regardless, this is one space mission worth honoring, and the Space Foundation will soon do just that and present the Rosetta Comet Exploration Team, led by the European Space Agency, with the 2015 John L. “Jack” Swigert Jr. Award for Space Exploration. Well deserved.

That was today’s Top Story. I’ll be back with more news after this brief message.

Robotic arms installed the Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS) laser instrument aboard the International Space Station on January 22nd, 2015. The instrument will measure clouds as well as the location and distribution of pollution, mineral dust, smoke and other particles in the atmosphere.

An 80-hour flight for Aurora Sciences’ Orion unmanned aircraft system has been submitted for review as an endurance record, more than doubling the previous record of 30.5 hours set in 2001.

And DigitalGlobe’s QuickBird satellite, after 13 years of service, ended its mission and de-orbited as planned, entering Earth’s atmosphere above the Atlantic Ocean on January 27th, 2015.

In other industry headlines, Scene Sharp Technologies received $500,000 in investment from the government of Canada to convert the Scene Sharp Fuze Go image-fusion software from standard desktop software to cloud-based and software-as-a-service product offerings. Visit this Web site and check out this really cool product video (made by me …).


Sokkia introduced its latest GNSS integrated receiver, the GCX2, which uses 226 channels to constantly track any currently available satellite signals.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency awarded BAE Systems a five-year, $43 million dollar contract to provide mission-essential training and instructional support to NGA analysts and intelligence officers.

And Google Earth Pro is now free. The upgrade adds access to demographic, parcel and traffic data, as well as such tools as the ability to measure 3-D buildings.

And now for today’s Final Thought.

I admit I knew little about the Rosetta mission before researching this episode, but I found it absolutely fascinating as I dug deeper. The records that were broken; the ambition to land a spaceship on a comet moving at speeds up to 55,000 kilometers per hour; the physical calculations to use the sun, Earth and Mars as gravitational slingshots to cover the massive distances—it’s truly amazing.

I read many articles, looked at dozens of graphics and watched several videos. I couldn’t get enough, really. Several of those graphics are in this episode, and I posted some of the videos to GeoSpatial Stream. I hope you find them as interesting as I did.

That’s it for this broadcast, but if you’d like to receive alerts when new GeoSpatial Stream videos are released, or sign up for additional V1 Media newsletters and publications, please visit this Web site and register:


I’m Todd Danielson, and this … was your GeoSpatial Stream.