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Other Space Activities

Recent Updates: October - December 2023

Last updated:Jan 9, 2024

Activity Report

This article summarises recent updates of content across the EO Portal, over the period October - December 2023. More than 25 new launches have taken place in just three months, eight new Portal articles covering new missions, three new articles on new thematic topics, and more than ten articles have been updated with new information.



Recent Launches


Thailand's second earth observation satellite, THEOS-2, was successfully launched into orbit from the French Guiana Space Centre on Monday 9 October 2023, at 8.36 am Thailand time (10.36 pm Sunday, in French Guiana).

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ESTCube-2 launched on 9 October 2023 at 4:36 a.m. EEST, from Kourou, French Guiana, on a shared Vega launch vehicle in October 2023. ESTCube-2 failed to deploy.

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The PROBA-VCC (PVCC) satellite lifted off from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on October 9th at 01:36 AM UTC on a Vega rocket. Aerospacelab successfully established communication with the satellite a few hours after the launch.

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The SpaceX Transporter-9 rideshare mission launched on November 11, 2023. The launch vehicle carried a number of payloads, including:

  • ICEYE-X31, X32, X34 and X35, were launched on SpaceX’s Transporter-9 rideshare mission, from launch complex SLC-4E, at Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB). The rocket lifted off at 10:49 AM PST (18:49 UTC). Read more
  • Alba Orbital launched their Unicorn-2l, Unicorn-2J and -2K, as part of the Alba Cluster 7, on November 11, 2023, on SpaceX’s Transporter-9 rideshare mission, from launch complex SLC-4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB). On December 1, 2023, Alba Orbital launched three more satellites, as part of the Alba Cluster 8: Unicorn-2L, -2M and -2N onboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Korea 425 mission, at 18:19 UTC (10:19 a.m. PST). Read more
  • Umbra SAR, launched a pair of 83-kilogram microsatellites for its SAR constellation, Umbra 07 & 08, from launch complex SLC-4E at Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB). Read more
  • GHGSat, launched three more microsatellites known as GHGSat-C9 (“Juba”), -C10 (“Vanguard”) and -C11 (“Elliot”), at 18:49 UTC on November 11, 2023, onboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 during the Transporter-9 mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. 38). GHGSat-C10 seeks to monitor carbon dioxide emissions at the facility scale (e.g. cement or power plants). Read more
  • MANTIS, the first satellite mission to be supported from concept to liftoff by ESA’s InCubed programme, was launched on 11 November 2023 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. MANTIS carries a high-resolution multispectral camera coupled with a powerful AI processing unit. Read more

Newest Mission Articles


Planned for launch in 2024, the Twin Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas Observers (TANGO) mission is a pair of CubeSats, designed by a consortium of Innovative Solutions in Space (ISISpace), the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON), the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO). The mission aims to identify and measure Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Methane (CH4) emissions at the scale of individual power plants and industrial areas.

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Launched in December 2023, the Space Industry - Responsive - Intelligent - Thermal (SpIRIT) nanosatellite is operated by the University of Melbourne. The satellite has been built in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency, and several Australian space industry companies. The nanosatellite will operate with the High Energy Rapid Modular Ensemble of Satellites (HERMES) to observe X-ray and gamma-ray emissions from space.

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GEISAT Constellation

GEISAT is a planned constellation of three methane-detecting optical microsatellites of the private Spanish company SATLANTIS. The mission’s predecessor, GEISAT Precursor, was launched in June 2023 and is planned to be joined by the GEISAT Constellation in 2025.

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Tomorrow R1, R2

Operated by, Tomorrow-R1 and -R2 were launched in April 2023 and June 2023 respectively. These commercial pathfinder radar satellites aim to demonstrate’s capability to observe and predict the weather.

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Chinese Space-based Radiometric Benchmark (CSRB) is a climate monitoring project proposed and funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). The goal of CSRB is to launch an International System of Units (SI) traceable satellite named LIBRA in 2025 to contribute to space-based climate studies via publicly available data.

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Launched in October 2023, the Advanced Nanosatellites System for Earth Observation Research (ANSER) is a constellation of three nanosatellites that monitor the water quality of swamps and reservoirs in Spain. The satellite is owned and operated by the Spanish Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) and also allows the study of global warming caused by greenhouse gases, particularly the accumulation of carbon dioxide, and the effect of solar radiation on the Earth.

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EPICHyper / Dragonette

EPICHyper 1, 2 and 3 (also known as Dragonette by Wyvern Inc.) are 6U satellites designed and manufactured by AAC Clyde Space, providing Hyperspectral Imaging to Wyvern Inc. for agricultural and environmental monitoring. The final satellite in the constellation, EPICHyper-3, was launched on 11 November 2023.

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SSTL-Precision of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. is a very high resolution (VHR) multispectral (MS) satellite in development that will support high-priority tasking of imagery for disaster monitoring, surveillance, mapping, and risk assessment. The mission employs novel sensor architecture and high agility, with feasibility for constellation deployment.

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Newest Thematic Articles


Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) are gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. As solar radiation passes through the atmosphere and reaches the surface, it is absorbed and re-radiated primarily as infrared radiation. GHGs prevent nearly 90% of this radiation from being radiated back to space, absorbing and re-emitting it to warm the lower atmosphere and planetary surface. Without this ‘greenhouse effect’, Earth would be a stark, cold and uninhabitable planet for the majority of life forms. The GHGs that contribute most to the greenhouse effect are water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), methane (CH4), ozone (O3), and Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

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Fire Monitoring

Because of changes to the Earth’s climate in recent years, the frequency and intensity of wildfires have been increasing globally, so that nearly 4.3 million square kilometres are burned annually. Though wildfires are naturally occurring phenomena, and an important ecological function, this unusually high occurrence can be extraordinarily damaging in a variety of ways. Perhaps most prominent is the direct threat to human life posed by uncontrolled blazes, while additional damages can include ecological, cultural or economic losses. Of particular concern is the effect of uncontrolled wildfires on climate as the smoke released by such fires can be substantial. For example, in 2017, it was estimated that 150 million tonnes were released by wildfires in British Columbia, an amount two to three times the annual fossil fuel emissions of the province. Boreal and Arctic fires can be especially problematic in this context, as the wildfires burn not only vegetation, but also the carbon rich soils. These carbon emissions exacerbate climate change, which in turn exacerbates the risk of uncontrollable wildfires, generating a vicious positive feedback cycle.

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Earthquakes are the release of stresses in the Earth’s crust, caused by the slippage of tectonic plates along a fault line, plate subduction, subterranean heat flow, and volcanism. As the plates move past each other, they send seismic waves through the Earth. Earthquakes have devastating effects on lives and infrastructure, and are among the deadliest and costliest of natural disasters on the planet. Satellite observations provide a promising tool for rapidly detecting and monitoring earthquakes, facilitating quicker response and communication in times of crises. Remote sensing satellites provide data on seismic activity, land use and dynamic change, and damage assessments, while communications satellites provide essential support for disaster response.

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Other Updates

Mission Status: Phase II ‘Incubation & production release’ starts. During the second phase, the selected teams will work on their solution together with the Φsat-2 consortium led by Open Cosmos and the Φ-lab team. The solution will be tested and verified on conditions with Φsat-2 configuration and integrated within the NanoMO framework.

In the end, 2 teams will have their solutions launched into space.

Launch: The launch of the Φ-Sat-2 CubeSat mission (6U), is planned for Q4 2023/Q1 2024.

Overview, Spacecraft, Sensor Complement: New information about the Φ-Sat-2 CubeSat mission have been added.

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