Bigger picture

One week after the launch of the UK-DMC2 satellite, a high-resolution commercial-grade image has been acquired and processed that clearly shows the states of Texas and Oklahoma in the US.

One week after the launch of the UK-DMC2 satellite, a high-resolution commercial-grade image has been acquired and processed that clearly shows the states of Texas and Oklahoma in the US.

The DMC satellites can image much larger areas in a single pass than the previous DMC satellites due to advances in on-board storage and high-speed satellite downlinks to Earth.

The quality of images acquired by the two new DMC satellites (UK-DMC2 and Deimos-1) is also significantly better than those from the previous DMC satellites. The increased detail can be seen in a small section taken from the main wide-area image, showing the runways and taxiways of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

The extra detail has been acquired thanks to new sensors that detect twice the number of pixels per hectare. Advances in optics and sensor technology have also made the images sharper and increased the depth of information.

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited’s (SSTL) mission control in Guildford, UK, established communication with the UK-DMC2 during its first pass, less than two hours after the satellite’s launch from Baikonur.

In-orbit tests commenced immediately as each of the operating systems were activated, including the deployment of UK-DMC2’s solar panel. Within just one week, all the primary avionics systems were commissioned and the first commercial-grade 22m image acquired.

Spanish company Deimos Space has also acquired the first image from its Deimos-1 spacecraft, which was launched together with UK-DMC2. Both satellites were built by SSTL and will join the international DMC constellation to contribute images to disaster relief and commercial imaging campaigns, which are co-ordinated by SSTL’s subsidiary DMCii.