Proliferation of commercial, high resolution satellite imagery improves intelligence gathering
The proliferation of high resolution space imagery is providing all governments with access to unprecedented intelligence information, which was previously the privileges of the few. However, response time provided by commercial services left much to be desired. Based on the Ofeq 3 spy satellite, built by Israel Aircraft Industries, and the space camera payload, developed by Elbit/ElOp, the Cyprus based ImageSat International is offering imagery gathered by the Eros A satellite under an innovative time-sharing scheme that enables partners to “own” the satellite when it passes over their region. When the client is in control, they can point the payload to look at the locations of interest, and choose the appropriate operational mode most suitable for the mission. They also receive, decode and interpret the data exclusively, which ensures the highest security levels for such operations. Foreign sources have mentioned Taiwan as one of the primary customers for the EROS A Satellite Operation Partners. Foreign sources informed that Taipei can receive and point the camera at any target they want, and receive instant imagery, as the satellite over flies within a 1,000 kilometer from the island.
EROS A has a planned lifespan of ten years in orbit and is scheduled to remain in service until 2010, when it will be replaced by the more advanced EROS C satellite. Imagesat launched the second satellite, EROS B in April 2006. EROS A and EROS B are part of ImageSat’s vision of a constellation of very high resolution satellites which are expected to include up to six EROS C type spacecraft. IAI/MBT end Elbit/Elop are cooperating on the development of this satellite.
|Eros A specifications:|
|Launch weight:||260 kg|
|Orbit:||500 km polar (Sun Synchronous – SSO)|
|Ground sampling:||1.9 m|
|Swath width:||14 km|
|Scanning:||Asynchronous push broom|
|Spectral band:||0.5 – 0.9μ|
|Sampling depth:||11 bits|
|Datalink rate:||70 MBit/sec|