The first Spanish Earth Observation satellite, Deimos-1, is celebrating its ninth successful year in orbit today.
Deimos-1 was launched aboard a Dnepr rocket from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 29, 2009. Since then, it has turned around the Earth more than 48,300 times and captured more than 45,600 images.
The range of services currently offered by Deimos-1 varies widely, from crop management and emergency response to environmental monitoring. These are some of the most recent usages of the imagery captured by Deimos-1:
Satellite imagery is a great tool to monitor and analyse agricultural fields. Deimos-1 multispectral capability makes it an easy-to-use and cost-effective tool to improve the efficiency of cultivation practices and to implement precision agriculture techniques. It can be used in a variety of applications such as drought assessment, crop analysis and grazing management.
Deimos Imaging has quickly become one of the leading sources of information for agricultural applications worldwide.
Every year since 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture uses Deimos-1 data to monitor the evolution of more than 100 types of crops nationwide, and to produce its annual 30-m Cropland Data Layers, which classifies all types of crops in the USA.
Deimos-1 is operated through a 24/7 Emergency Service that assures the delivery of imagery in less than 90 minutes from its acquisition. This is essential to support emergency situations, ensuring reliable delivery, crucial for coordination with local authorities, and offering high quality, accurate information, in an accessible and user-friendly format.
Deimos-1 data helped in the damage assessment of the wildfires that ravaged California’s Napa and Yolo Counties in July 2018. Vegetation appears red in this false-color image which was processed including the near-infrared channel. Different shades of red provide crucial information on chlorophyll content and plants health. The dark area visible in the image reveals the extent of the fire devastation. The image also shows smoke plumes arising from the fires.
What gets measured, gets managed. The continuous monitoring of natural resources is a prerequisite for sustainable management and to protect our environment for future generations. The very wide swath of Deimos-1 makes it the perfect tool to capture vast areas, and its high revisit frequency makes it ideal for environmental monitoring purposes.
Deimos-1 has been monitoring the Aral Sea and captured it several times since it was launched, allowing to assess the water level there. On April 2018, Deimos-1 captured an image where huge blocks of ice can be seen floating on the northern part of the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan.
Satellite imagery is a key tool to reliably and timely identify incidents in areas affected by ongoing conflicts and threats, without the risks and costs associated to having people on the ground and where it’s difficult to verify them otherwise. It also plays an increasingly important role in monitoring and measuring humanitarian crisis. It serves to support decision making and humanitarian aid management through, for example, monitoring changes in refugee and internally displaced persons camps.
Deimos-1 is monitoring constructions on Bhasan Char, an island on the Bay of Bengal where Bangladesh plans to relocate 100,000 Rohingya refugees. The data acquired served institutions and non-governmental organizations to detect changes and progress on the new facilities being built there.
Defence and Security
Remote sensing is a key tool for change detection and defence and security.
The technique of tipping and cueing with multi-resolution sensors is very useful for change detection, particularly when the areas to be monitored are vast and very distant from each other. Tipping and cueing consists in tasking one satellite with a wide swath – Deimos-1 in this case – to get the broad picture of a hotspot and detect possible changes, activities and elements of interest. Then, a very high resolution sensor is tasked over a more specific area of interest to identify the changes previously detected.
With the raise of tensions in the South China Sea in early 2016, Deimos Imaging, launched a monitoring campaign to acquire imagery over this area and to demonstrate the coordinated use of its multi-resolution satellites for imagery intelligence applications. The examination and comparison of the data gathered by Deimos-1 allowed to detect changes over time and to task very-high-resolution sensors over specific areas to identify those developments in greater detail.
About Deimos Imaging
Deimos Imaging is the geo-information company providing exclusive access to Earth Observation imagery through a unique virtual constellation – including 20 operational satellites with 1m or better resolution. The wide range of information products, services and customizable solutions are based on this unique foundational data offer and are all harmonized in the same environment. The Deimos Imaging portfolio benefits worldwide customers and partners by providing reliable solutions that significantly accelerate decision-making in a great variety of fields.
Additionally, Deimos Imaging and its parent company UrtheCast Corp. are developing and expect to launch UrtheDaily™, a satellite constellation designed to capture high-quality, medium-resolution optical imagery of the Earth’s entire landmass every day, in 2020. This constellation has been conceived to produce scientific quality images and cloud-based services that will allow the analysis of large amounts of data in almost real time and at a global scale, revolutionizing the way we observe and monitor our planet.