9_4 Earth Imaging Broadcast (Galileo Malfunction, Drones and More)

Hello, and welcome to GeoSpatial Stream. I’m your host, Todd Danielson, and today’s Lead Sponsor is Trimble Geospatial Division.

Today’s Top Story is Galileo. No, I’m not talking about the 16th century Italian astronomer, who did many great things, but the European global navigation satellite system, which is in the news for some not-so-great reasons.

Built by the European Space Agency, with an overall budget of more than $6 billion dollars and intended to be an alternative to the U.S. GPS and Russian GLONASS systems, the fifth and sixth of 30 Galileo satellites were launched on August 22nd.

It was initially deemed a successful launch, as the satellites appear to be functioning as expected. However, the Russian-made Soyuz rocket delivering the instruments had a failure in its upper stage and left the satellites in a useless orbit. Currently, a software glitch is the expected culprit.

Final determination of whether the mission is a complete loss has yet to be made. ESA scientists may try to use the satellites’ propulsion system to reach the proper orbit, but there may not be enough propellant to do so and still leave the satellites operational. It doesn’t look good at this time, but I’ll keep you up-to-date with further details.

The next two Galileo satellites are scheduled to launch in December of this year aboard the same rocket type. But all of that may change now, as ESA may opt to use a different rocket, and the schedule may have to be updated to include two additional instruments if these satellites are indeed considered lost.

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

Drones, or UAVs, made news recently in a few places, so here’s a quick summary:

An article in Forbes covered Google’s testing of drones for delivery purposes. You’re watching a video Google created that I’ll post on GeoSpatial Stream. But the article was more about how Google is testing its drones outside of the United States, in this case Australia, due to regulations that prohibit flying UAVs in America without FAA permission. Check out the article for some pretty strong opinions against the FAA’s stance.

Amazon Prime Air, another major tech company moving into the UAV delivery market (and testing in other countries such as India), hired several new people for this project, including aerospace engineers, a NASA astronaut, Microsoft and Bing researchers and engineers, and the founder of Keyhole, the original developer of Google Earth. Another sign that this could be a huge market.

Disaster Tech Lab is teaming with a company run by former military aviators to use UAVs to help save lives in disaster areas by detecting and geolocating signals from cell phones and WiFi networks for those who may be trapped following a disaster.

And Sony is looking to expand its camera-sensor technology into the UAV market for applications such as inspecting aging infrastructure and precision agriculture.

In industry headlines, DigitalGlobe released the first images from its WorldView-3 satellite, which was launched on August 13th. These initial images from Madrid, Spain, have been resampled to 40-centimeter resolution.

BlackBridge partnered with MDA Information Systems to introduce RapidEye Persistent Change Monitoring, which uses scale- and sensor-independent algorithms to compare a stack of images over time and identify areas with lasting change.

SimActive Inc. introduced Correlator3D version 5.3, with significantly faster orthorectification. It also includes a new feature for displaying generated orthophotos in real-time.

And KEYW Corporation unveiled its Aeroptic Mapping System, a fully integrated airborne solution that provides high-resolution, wide-area mapping data for civilian and military applications.

And now for today’s Final Thought:

Next week I’ll be attending the URISA GIS-Pro conference in New Orleans. I always enjoy URISA’s conferences, and I’m really looking forward to another visit in this unique and special American city. It may be too late to make travel arrangements, so visit this Web site for details on how to watch the Virtual Conference online. It will be well worth your time: www.urisa.org/education-events/gis-pro-virtual-conference/

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, please visit this Web site and register: geospatialstream.com/subscribe

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