Our Earth Observation satellite, Deimos-1, is celebrating its eighth successful year in orbit!
Deimos-1, the first Spanish Earth Observation satellite, 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 43,000 times and captured more than 41,000 images.
The range of services currently offered by the Deimos-1 satellite varies widely, from crop management and emergency response to environmental monitoring. These are some of the most recent usages of the data 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 a processed image in less than 30 minutes from its acquisition. Thus, it can be of essential support in emergency situations, ensuring reliable delivery, which is key for coordination with local authorities, and offering high quality, accurate information, in an accessible and user-friendly format.
Deimos-1 data helped recently in the damages assessment of the wildfires in Pedrógão Grande, Portugal. Vegetation appears red in this false-colour 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.
Its very wide swath makes Deimos-1 the perfect tool to capture vast areas, while its high revisit frequency makes it ideal for environmental monitoring purposes.
Deimos-1 was the first optical satellite which managed to picture Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf and the trillion-ton iceberg recently calved A68, even though it is not easy to capture images of the Antarctica at this time of the year because of the long winter nights and because of cloud cover.
Pollution and conflict monitoring
Satellite imagery is a key tool to reliably and timely identify incidents, such as pollution ones, 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.
For several months, Deimos-1 has been monitoring the oil wells Daesh set on fire last summer in the Qayyarah area, around 60 km south of Mosul, Iraq. The data acquired served institutions and non-governmental organizations to identify different pollution sources and track them.
The Earth Observation sector and its transformation
These are just a few examples of the utility of the data captured by Deimos-1. However, we are witnessing a significant transformation of the Earth Observation sector in the last years. It is moving from a market of “just pixels” into one where the extracted information derives products embedded into larger industries, delivering efficient tools for daily decision making.
Satellite imagery has never been as affordable and accessible as it is today. Easy-to-use value-added products and services with geoanalytics capabilities are significantly broadening the utility of Earth Observation data for both organizations and individuals.
Under this new paradigm, information derived from a constant flux of near-real time EO data could become as ubiquitous as satellite communication and GPS data today. We are on the verge of being able, not only to observe, but to measure, human and natural activity, daily, on a global scale: every city, every factory, every crop field, every tree, every truck, every ship… the possibilities are unprecedented.