Recent Updates: July - September 2023
This article summarises recent updates of content across the EO Portal, over the period July - September 2023. More than 50 new launches have taken place in just three months, ten new Portal articles covering new missions, three new articles on new thematic topics, and more than ten articles have been updated with new information.
Capella Space launched two satellites recently, Capella-11 SAR satellite (Acadia-1), on August 24th at 11:45 a.m., NZST (August 23rd, at 23;45 UTC), and Capella-12 SAR satellite (Acadia-2), on September 19, 2023 at 2:55 a.m. Eastern, on a dedicated Rocket Lab Electron vehicle, from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula.
The launch failed after approximately two minutes.
FengYun-3 launched two satellites recently, FY-3F spacecraft on 4 August 2023, at 11:47 a.m on a Long March-4C rocket, and FY-3G on 16 April 2023, at 9:36 a.m on a Long March-4B rocket. Both launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.
The Meteor-M2-3 weather and climate-monitoring spacecraft, along with a cluster of small satellites, was launched on June 27, 2023 on a Soyuz-2-1b rocket, which lifted off from the Vostochny spaceport.
The Jilin-1 GF03D series satellites Gaofen-03D-35 to 43, the first 30 satellites in the Jilin-1 GF06A series and the first two satellites in the Jilin-1 Pingtai 02A series were launched as part of the Jilin Constellation, on June 15, 2023 at 5:30 UTC, on China Long March 2D rocket from LC-9 Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center, in China.
The experimental Huoerguosi-1 (or Khorgos-1) satellite was also aboard as the tech demo for the next generation of Jilin-1 satellites.
Alba Orbital launched their Unicorn-2l satellite on 12 June 2023, at 3:10 AM EDT, as part of Cluster 6, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The SpaceX Transporter-8 rideshare mission launched on June 12, 2023. The launch vehicle carried a number of payloads, including:
- GHOSt-3 was launched on 12 June 2023 at 2:35 PDT (21:35 UTC) on SpaceX’s Transporter 8 rideshare mission, from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB) in California. Read more
- ICEYE-X23, -X25, -X26 and X30I, were launched on 12 June 2023, on SpaceX’s Transporter-8 smallsat rideshare mission via Exolaunch, from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, USA. Read more
- Lemur-2 (Aadam-Aliyah), Lemur-2 (Embrionovis) and Lemur-2 (Naziyah), were launched as part of the Spire Global Nanosatellite Constellation, on June 12, 2023, onboard SpaceX’s Transporter-8 smallsat rideshare mission via Exolaunch, which was conducted from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, USA. Read more
The SpaceX Transporter-7 rideshare mission launched on April 15, 2023. The launch vehicle carried a number of payloads, including:
- LLITED A and B were launched on April 15, 2023, aboard the SpaceX Transporter-7 rideshare mission from the Vandenberg Space Force Base. Read more
- Lemur-2 ( OnReflection) and Lemur-2 (Romeo-n-Leo), were launched as part of the Spire Global Nanosatellite Constellation, on April 15, 2023 onboard Falcon 9 for the Transporter-7 rideshare mission, from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Read more
Newest Mission Articles
Planned for launch in early 2024, SpaceEye-T is a commercial high resolution imaging satellite that will be owned and operated by the Korean satellite manufacturer Satrec Initiative (SI). SpaceEye-T will form the first component of SI’s plan to create a privately owned constellation of high resolution imaging satellites.
Beijing-3 is a constellation of two optical Earth observation satellites owned and operated by Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology Co., Ltd (21AT). Beijing-3A was launched on 11 June 2021, and Beijing-3B was launched on 24 August 2022.
Expected to launch in 2023, GOMX-5 is a 12U CubeSat operated by GomSpace and funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). This 5-year mission aims to demonstrate new nanosatellite capabilities involving communication and manoeuvrability.
Planned for launch in 2023, the Optical Constellation in Three Dimensions (CO3D) mission is a French high resolution optical imaging and three dimensional mapping mission of the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES). The constellation is planned to consist of four satellites, operating in pairs with the potential to expand to twenty satellites.
Launched on June 30, 2022, NeuSAR is Singapore’s first high-performance Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) microsatellite. The satellite, which is supported by Singapore's Office for Space Technology and Industry (OSTIn), was designed and developed by DSO National Laboratories (DSO) along with local space research partners and international industry partners. NeuSAR is the world’s first fully polarimetric small satellite SAR.
The Multi-Angle Imager Aerosols (MAIA) mission is led by NASA, in partnership with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI), and is designed to study the impact of different sizes and compositional mixtures of particulate matter on adverse health outcomes. The MAIA instrument will be hosted onboard the PLATiNO-2 satellite, with launch planned for 2025 on board a Vega-C rocket.
Planned for launch in 2026, CO2Image is a carbon dioxide (CO2) measurement and monitoring mission designed and developed by the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). CO2Image aims to monitor facility-scale CO2 emissions, as well as to complement existing and planned Copernicus greenhouse gas monitoring missions, such as CO2M.
Expected to launch in January 2024, the EarthDaily Constellation consists of 10 satellites operated by EarthDaily Analytics (EDA). This commercial mission will provide images of the entire world across 22 spectral bands on a daily basis.
INvestigation of Convective UpdraftS (INCUS) is a mission composed of 3 SmallSats funded and developed by NASA-JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) alongside Colorado State University. INCUS will provide the first tropics-wide investigation of the evolution of the vertical transport of air and water by convective storms, and is expected to be launched in 2026 with a planned lifetime of 2 years.
HiVE Microsatellite Constellation
The High-precision Versatile Ecosphere (HiVE) monitoring constellation is operated by constellr, and supported and partially funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). The first two of the four commercial imaging satellites are expected to launch in 2024. By monitoring the amount of water transpired by plants, HiVE will track the water content and overall health of crops.
Newest Thematic Articles
Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) is a method of determining ranges using reflected laser light to produce 3D geospatial maps of a target area. Lidar has terrestrial applications including 3D scanning and autonomous vehicle guidance, as well as Earth remote sensing applications including the production of high resolution topographic maps. Remote sensing lidar observations are commonly made by airborne or satellite based instruments.
Ocean Surface Topography
Ocean Surface Topography (OST) represents variations in sea surface height (SSH) against the geoid, which is the shape the ocean surface would assume with no currents or tides. OST measurements can provide long-term information about ocean circulation, mass and heat content, weather, tides and other dynamic ocean phenomena – all of which are critical factors in the global climate. Practical applications include ship routing, offshore oil operations, fisheries, search and rescue, oil spill remediation and maritime operations.
Changes in OST can be measured by satellite altimeters, which are non-imaging radar sensors that use precise ranging measurements to derive the satellite’s height above the ocean. Altimeters obtain this ranging information by measuring the time interval between the transmission and reception of microwave pulses. Higher resolution data can be obtained through spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR[e]) devices, like the European Space Agency (ESA) mission CryoSat-2, which has helped explain the connection between polar ice sheet melting and the rise of sea levels. The internationally cooperated altimetry missions, such as Jason-1, Jason-2/OSTM, Jason-3 and Sentinel-6, are capable of determining global mean sea level with a precision of several millimetres, which is achieved by echoing microwave pulses from the ocean surface to obtain altimetric range, then subtracting from the satellites’ orbital heights for OST measurements accurate to 3.3 cm relative to the centre of the Earth. Global mean sea level can be determined to such accuracy after averaging a myriad of OST measurements over their 10-day revisit period.
Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) is a process used to obtain high spectral resolution imagery by dividing light into many narrow, contiguous spectral bands across the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum, typically between visible and infrared wavelengths. Different features on Earth’s surface reflect, absorb, scatter and emit light at specific wavelengths, which creates a unique and characteristic spectral fingerprint that hyperspectral imagers are able to identify. HSI has greatly enhanced our perception of the Earth’s surface and its features, other planets, space domain awareness and more, with greater precision than from multispectral imaging.
Mission Status: After 13 years of operation, RISAT-2 made an uncontrolled reentry into Earth’s atmosphere at the predicted impact point in the Indian Ocean near Jakarta, on 30th October 2022 at 00:06 UTC.
Mission Status: Initially projected for a mission duration of three years, RASAT was retired after operating for 11 years on August 28, 2022. Over its lifetime, RASAT took 13,362 images over 58,726 orbits.
Mission Status: On July 3, 2023, ESA, along with European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), released the first animations from the Lightning Imager onboard the first MTG satellite.
Mission Status: On June 29, 2023, a video explaining all the new capabilities that will define the next Landsat mission was released.
- On July 21, 2023, the SWOT mission operations teams successfully completed several propulsive manoeuvres to reposition the spacecraft into its final 21-day repeat orbit to start the global mapping science phase.
- On July 20, 2023, ocean and freshwater scientists performed some tests, to validate the measurements taken by SWOT.
- On March 17, 2023, SWOT satellite’s main scientific instrument – the Ka-band Radar Interferometer (KaRIn) – returned to regular commissioning activities.
- On February 23, 2023, SWOT, started commissioning activities – the six-month checkout period before the scientific mission begins.
Sensor Complement: During a press conference, New information about three new instruments were released. They are the Nadir Altimeter, AMR (Advanced Microwave Radiometer) and the Precise Orbit Determination Package.
Mission Status: On July 28, 2023, ESA’s wind mission, Aeolus, reentered Earth’s atmosphere above Antarctica, confirmed by US Space Command.
Spacecraft: The System design status and Phase A studies, and the NGGM (P2) Mission Concept have been released.
- On April 25, 2023, ESA announced that NGGM Phase A is currently running an extension phase (8 months).
- On October 13, 2022, ESA and NASA announced that their joint ‘Next Generation Gravity Mission’, is undergoing its initial phase design activities.
Sensor Complement: New information about MAGIC’s instruments have been released.
They are the MicroSTAR Accelerometers, Laser Tracking Instrument LTI, Propulsion Subsystem.
Mission Status: On July 21, 2023, the ROSE-L SAR instrument was undergoing testing and activities, as part of its ‘Phase C’ development.
Sensor Complement: New information about the ROSE-L SAR instrument has been released.
They include the ROSE-L SAR Instrument Architecture and ROSE-L SAR Key Technologies and Techniques.
Mission Status: The launch of Sentinel-1C is now scheduled for March 2024, following a delay due to a launch failure of Vega-C in December 2022.
Mission Status: On August 7, 2023, Umbra released a 16 cm/pixel Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) image, making it the highest-res commercial satellite image ever dropped.
Mission Status: On August 8, 2023, GHGSat ordered another four 16U cubesats from Spire Global for a launch no earlier than 2024 to expand its greenhouse gas-monitoring constellation.
Spacecraft: Updated information on Theos-2 technical specifications have been released.
Mission Status: On September 8, 2023, it was announced that the launch of Theos-2, is scheduled to take place in October.
Did we miss any mission updates over the last quarter? Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.