(root)High-Resolution Earth Observation Missions

High-Resolution Imaging at Low Cost

High-resolution imaging is now the subject of significant commercial importance with huge investment by governments and commercial service providers. Availability of high-quality imagery through web portals such as Google Earth and Microsoft Bing Maps has raised public awareness and demand for Earth observation data. Currently this imagery is provided by conventional large satellites costing as much as $500 million each to construct and launch.

Advances in digital imaging and small-satellite avionics mean that small satellites can now provide outstanding value for Earth imaging missions. Computing power, data storage, and data downlink speeds onboard small satellites have seen more than an order of magnitude improvement over the past decade. Surrey-built satellites are already providing high quality medium resolution imaging at a fraction of the cost of these larger satellites. The RapidEye constellation built for MDA by Surrey is providing multispectral imaging at 6.5-meter resolution.

Image courtesy of TopSat Consortium @ QinetiQ 2008

TopSat, weighing a little over 100 kg and costing less than $20 million, is demonstrating 2.8-meter resolution imaging.


SSTL-300 platform
Before the end of 2010, an SSTL-300 satellite will be launched for the Nigerian government. The 300 kg NigeriaSat-2 will carry a Surrey-designed and built  2.5-meter imaging system.

Future variants of this highly agile platform will provide sub-1-meter imagery. With high speed downlink and fast slew off-pointing, the SSTL-300 S1 is a new world leader in its class of Earth observation satellites, providing quality and quantity of images to meet demanding rapid response applications.

SSTL-300 datasheet
SSTL-300Si datasheet