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Buy A Satellite


Buy A Satellite

I have spent over a decade in the geospatial industry and thus know a lot about how things work here but I was shocked when recently buying satellite imagery for a project. I wanted to share with you my experiences and confirm whether it was a rule or an exception.

So I wanted to buy high-resolution satellite data of a few hundred sq. kilometres over Asia. My estimated budget was under 10K USD. The project had a short deadline so I had a maximum time of two weeks to get the data.

I thought that in the third decade of the XXI century and all the marketing budgets from satellite data providers, the whole process will be as simple as finding the data, paying, and downloading the selected imagery. Apparently, the purchase process is much more difficult and it seems that in reality, nobody is interested in selling you the data!

The situation was so ridiculous, that I decided to make an open-source project to help things out with data discovery. Here is an excel file that has a list of all the satellite data from the majority of earth observation satellite systems with resolutions and key parameters.

Simultaneously, I was able to contact a few vendors in Europe that were offering Chinese satellite data. I conveyed my area of interest and signed NDAs. Soon we were talking business. But we hit another dead end because they said that it will take another two weeks to get the processed georeferenced data for my area of interest.

In Afghanistan, there is an unknown element of where or if people have been relocated due to the current political situation or by any other means mentioned previously, both causing internal displacement and further international migration. In response, the challenge in the next few years for providing accurate population data for Afghanistan will be monitoring the change in movement and location. Through identifying the abandoned compounds, establishing the new locations of the resettled population, and the dynamics of IDP camps from satellite imagery, we will make sure that no one is left behind in the forthcoming years.

Imagine that you're at a cocktail party. \"My goodness, look at the time,\" you say, glancing at your watch. \"Sorry to go, but I've got to take a reading of the earth's magnetic field with my satellite.\"

Once Antunes' satellite is up, he says he intends to use it for an art project called Calliope. \"We think of space as being sterile,\" he says, \"But in fact it's an active environment.\" All around his TubeSat, he says, will be pulsations of electromagnetic energy, random solar events, changes in temperature as day and night trade places. His TubeSat will record these fluctuations, which Antunes says he will later convert into sounds--literally the music of the spheres.

DeBenedictis' modification, named SkyCube, has cost $96,000 so far, with money coming from sponsors via funding website Kickstarter. SkyCube, he says, will do three things in orbit: It will broadcast sponsors' messages (120 bytes each) across the Earth; it will take pictures of the Earth and send them to sponsors' mobile phones; and it will deploy a 10-foot diameter mylar balloon, carried (deflated) within the SkyCube's body. This balloon, when inflated, will reflect light, making the satellite easier to see.

DIY satellites typically hitch a ride on rockets carrying far more serious payloads. SkyCube, for example, will go up in 2013 aboard a rocket owned by commercial space company Space X. DeBenedictis suspects that the launch's primary payload will be a spy satellite. \"We're secondary,\" he says. He already has put down a deposit of $50,000 on the flight, which ultimately will cost him, he says, $125,000.

Zac Manchester, a graduate student in Aerospace Engineering at Cornell, says there's another way to get into orbit: a NASA program called ELaNA that offers lifts to DIY projects from universities. Manchester's project, called KickSat, aims to put 1,000 tiny satellites into orbit all at once. Call

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