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A Suitcase-Size Satellite’s Big Image of Frozen Earth Below

About two weeks in the past, a satellite tv for pc referred to as Iceye-X1 hitched a journey into orbit aboard an Indian rocket. It’s concerning the measurement of a suitcase, and has already despatched its first image, built out of microwave radar reflections, again to Earth.

“I personally love this image,” stated Rafal Modrzewski, the manager govt of Iceye, a Finnish start-up that constructed and operates the satellite tv for pc, regarding a scene from the Noatak National Preserve in Alaska. “It’s full of snow, but it’s so much more complex than you think at first.”

The swath of the park visual within the first symbol is 1.2 gigabytes of knowledge that encompasses a space about 50 miles lengthy by means of 25 miles broad. It was once made the usage of a generation referred to as artificial aperture radar, or SAR.

The capacity of Iceye-X1 isn't on its own groundbreaking. Edward R. Caro, who labored for many years on spaceborne radar tools at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., stated it's more or less related in efficiency to what he and his colleagues placed on NASA’s five,000-pound Seasat satellite tv for pc early in his profession. “It would be analogous what we were flying in 1978,” he stated.

But Iceye-X1, which weighs not up to 220 kilos, takes benefit of the miniaturization of trendy client electronics, in large part the usage of off-the-shelf parts, and the less expensive rides to house now to be had.


The satellite tv for pc is the scale of a suitcase and makes use of a generation referred to as artificial aperture radar to map Earth’s floor.


“I can’t praise them enough for what they’ve done,” stated Mr. Caro, who supplied some consulting to Mr. Modrzewski’s crew.

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