Satellite Vu, a specialist in Earth observation technology and services, has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme to collaborate with the University of Surrey on a major infrared satellite data project. The SPRINT project will capture airborne data to enable Satellite Vu to evaluate the capabilities of high resolution, space borne Medium Wave InfraRed (MWIR) data for measuring the thermal output of structures. This will help maritime organisations to improve the management of their energy consumption and industrial processes as well as support their surveillance needs.
The project will fly an MWIR camera on an aeroplane to collect data from areas of the Solent and surrounding maritime areas including boat/shipyards and marinas, simulating the data that would be captured from a space-based sensor. The University of Surrey will provide Satellite Vu with advanced analysis techniques to process and validate the acquired imagery to demonstrate potential commercial maritime applications. These will focus on the advantages that MWIR might have over Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data for small boat detection.
Satellite Vu plans to procure its first satellite from Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) for launch in 2021, with the launch of a further six satellites starting in 2023 to position the company as the first global commercial satellite platform to offer high resolution MWIR data.
The project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.
Tobias Reinicke, Chief Technology Officer at Global Satellite Vu said: “We are focused on the new insights that thermal Earth observation can bring to global challenges including climate change and managing the environment. With this SPRINT project, we’re looking at the feasibility of using our data to more accurately detect heat in buildings, with a particular focus on maritime activity around ports.
“The expertise of the University of Surrey will enable us to test the MWIR data with a view to sourcing space borne data from satellites in the near future. This will allow us to help organisations to make economic and environmental savings by analysing which structures, buildings, warehouses or factories are wasting energy.”
Dr Raffaella Guida, Head of the Remote Sensing Applications research group at the University of Surrey’s Surrey Space Centre (SSC) added: “Our university group brings a real maritime focus on the surveillance aspects of Earth observation data. It’s absolutely key to this project that we apply proven image processing techniques to the available datasets at that higher resolution.
“Our expertise will provide Satellite Vu with insight on the quality of the MWIR data as well as validating their use case before launching the sensor on a space platform.”