NovaSAR-1 successfully reaches orbit

By on 17 September, 2018

NovaSAR-1 during development. Image provided by Airbus Defense and Space.

NovaSAR-1, a synthetic aperture radar research satellite from which the CSIRO has purchased 10 percent tasking and acquisition time, was successfully launched into orbit overnight.

Early on September 17 AEST, the latest radar research satellite blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India, launched by Antrix Corporation – the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO.

The CSIRO said that its purchase of ten percent of NovaSAR-1’s tasking and acquisition time for the next seven years will operate as a national research facility, which is to be managed by the new CSIRO Centre for Earth Observation.

NovaSAR-1 uses S-band synthetic aperture radar technology, an extremely precise sensing technology impervious to lighting and atmospheric phenomena such as cloud cover.

The CSIRO said that it will use its ability to direct the satellite’s activity to extend and support a broad spread of existing research, develop Australian Earth observation data analytics capability, stimulate new commercial opportunities for SAR data.

The CSIRO has described practical applications for NovaSAR-1’s data, including:

  • Rapid natural disaster identification, monitoring and assessment including after cyclones, floods, earthquakes and oil spills
  • Improved infrastructure and agriculture mapping in Northern Australia
  • Monitoring crops and assessing factors such as plant biomass and soil moisture
  • Detection of illegal deforestation
  • Flood risk assessment
  • Monitoring shipping routes and detecting illegal activity

NovaSAR-1 will go through a commissioning and calibration period managed by its manufacturer, Surrey Satellite Technology, and anticipates acceptance of proposals for imaging requests in December 2018.

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