According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global commercial satellite imaging market is expected to generate $5.25 billion by 2026. Following are some of the activities taking place across the world. —
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Commercial satellite imaging has become helpful in many applications including healthcare, defense, and agriculture. The high quality images of the Earth and sea would provide important insights for organizations to take further steps. Each company operating in the space has been generating images of size more than 100 terabytes (TB) per day for an entire year. Determining immense opportunities and scope for development, new companies have been launching their satellites. According to Janice Starzyk, the Vice President of Commercial Space at Bryce Space and Technology, an analytics and engineering firm, more than 40 companies launched commercial imaging satellites in the past decade. Nearly 36 earth observation companies are startups and 21 of them have been founded from 2014 to 2019.
Commercial satellite imagery providers have been equipping their satellites with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to gain enhanced quality of images. PredaSAR Corporation announced that it will launch 48 satellites on the Falcon 9 launch vehicle of SpaceX. These satellites will be equipped with advanced commercial satellite imaging technology Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). With the help of this technology, these satellites would capture the images of the Earth in 2D and 3D. Images of land and sea can be captured at any time in any conditions of weather. Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Inc., the launch integration provider and manufacturer of the spacecraft, will collaborate with PredaSAR and SpaceX to execute the deployment plans.
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Market players have been launching new satellites and equipping them with the latest technologies to gain enhanced quality of images. Innovative imaging technologies have been used to take images in any conditions from anywhere. Not only providing high quality of images but also making these images available to customers at rapid speed becomes the priority for image providers. They have adopted collaborative approach to enable the rapid service to their customers across different domains. Many companies have been offering images to different domains, while some companies have been developing solutions focused on particular areas such as precision agriculture. The market for commercial satellite imaging is gaining momentum.
Roger Teague, Maj. Gen. USAF (Ret) and the CEO at PredaSAR, highlighted that the company aims to offer essential insights and data to both military and commercial companies at the required speed. The company collaborated with SpaceX to realize the PredaSAR constellation vision of offering consistent and fast ISR from anywhere and at any time.
Companies have been enhancing imaging capabilities to gain a better view in the images. ICEYE, a New Space leader from Finland, launched the SAR small satellites equipped with the capability of 25 cm resolution imaging. This high resolution imaging capabilities enables the company to achieve the quality of resolution of those large and conventional commercial SAR satellites. Pekka Laurila, the CSO & Co-founder at ICEYE, highlighted that the new resolution has been made available for customers of the company by mid-2020.
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The newly launched solution provides the native slant plane resolution of 25 cm in the azimuth direction. Moreover, it offers 50 cm resolution in the range direction prior to the application of before ground-plane adjustments. The imagery data of the highest resolution will be offered in the ICEYE's standard product formats. These formats can be accessed through the standard geographic information system (GIS) tools. Dr. Mark Matossian, the CEO of the U.S. subsidiary of ICEYE, outlined that the 25 cm resolution SAR imaging in small satellites is a ground-breaking advancement. Commercial and government customers can avail detailed change detection capabilities, carry out improved object classification, and monitor small objects from orbit.
Companies have been collaborating to offer satellite images of the Earth for different applications and precision agriculture is one of them. SkyWatch Space Applications joined hands with AgIntegrated Inc., a software consulting and technology integration firm for providing satellite imaging of precision agriculture. AgIntegrated will provide an access to SkyWatch EarthCache, a platform equipped with satellite data, to its customers. Graham Stickler, the Chief Marketing Officer at SkyWatch, outlined that the collaboration would enable company to offer access to essential Earth-imagery.
SkyWatch is offering imagery through AgIntegrated’s Field Data Exchange, an application program interface (API), to agriculture related applications. In the coming years, AgIntegrated would offer aerial and drone imagery along with data analytics through its platform. Mike Santostefeno, the Vice President for Business Development at AgIntegrated, outlined that collaboration with SkyWatch would help the company in solving issues related to imagery data for agriculture. Customers from the agriculture industry do not need to purchase the whole satellite scenes. They can only purchase data from particular areas of interest as specific as one-tenth of square kilometer.
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