UK: Earth-i today announced that a consortium it is leading has received a grant from the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI), funded by the UK Space Agency.
The project will be used to develop a number of new Earth Observation technologies that will enable processes, such as the enhancement of image resolution, cloud-detection, change detection and video compression, to take place on-board a small satellite rather than on the ground. This will accelerate the delivery of high-quality images, video and information-rich analytics to end-users.
On-board cloud detection will make the tasking of satellites more efficient and increase the probability of capturing a usable and useful image or video. To achieve these goals, ‘Project OVERPaSS’ will implement, test and demonstrate very high-resolution optical image analysis techniques, involving both new software and dedicated hardware installed onboard small satellites to radically increase their ability to process data in space.
The project will also determine the extent to which these capabilities could be routinely deployed on-board British optical imaging satellites in future.
Earth-i’s Vivid-i constellation offers a potential first application for the OVERPaSS technology, enabling a wide range of clients in industry and government to benefit from the higher quality imagery, video and analytics, and faster processing and delivery times, that OVERPaSS could enable.
Earth-i’s partners in the consortium are:
- Cortexica Vision Systems, a leading provider of cloud-based image and video recognition systems;
- University College London (UCL), through the UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UCL MSSL) with its extensive experience in space research missions;
- Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL), a world leader in the design, manufacture and launch of small satellites and unique in that it designs and manufactures a significant proportion of its satellite payloads, subsystems and equipment in-house.
Chief Technology Officer for Earth-i, John Linwood said: “This is another example of how the UK Space industry continues to invest collectively in new technologies and innovation. Our goal with OVERPaSS is to develop further world-beating capabilities to ensure that British satellites remain at the forefront of the global space industry for the benefit of customers worldwide.”
Eduard Vazquez, Director of Research for Cortexica, said: “This project is about opening up space by delivering industry-ready technology into the hands of companies and governments. Onboard video processing marks a major step change, as it will allow more sophisticated data and analytics to be transmitted efficiently, bringing a new range of video applications for businesses globally.”
Andrew Cawthorne, Director of Earth Observation at SSTL, said: “SSTL is a pioneer of new innovations in satellite optical systems, and we welcome this opportunity to work with our consortium colleagues to develop new technologies that will improve and expand the image and video services to end-users.”