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CNES study details pros, cons of alternative imagery architectures

10 October 2013

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The French space agency, CNES, is exploring three different types of next-generation high-resolution optical imaging satellite systems, including one that would operate in an unusual elliptical orbit to provide up to 45 minutes of "staring" time over a given target area, with a 1-metre ground resolution.

A second design is of a 3-metre-resolution satellite positioned in geostationary orbit over the equator, which would provide always-on viewing during the satellite's 15-year life but pose issues of satellite orbit control and image processing.

Astrium Satellites of Europe and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of the United States, both of which build high-resolution imaging satellites, are looking at the geostationary orbit option but say the cost and size of such a satellite today make it unattractive for most prospective customers.

Source: Space News

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