Space Radar Will Capture Millimeter Changes on Earth With Hourly Updates

Capella Space constellation of small but powerful satellites employ space-based radar, beaming through darkness and cloud cover to gather the information you need to make informed decisions. When fully deployed, Capella will offer hourly coverage of every point on Earth, rendered in sub-meter resolution, through the world’s largest constellation of radar satellites.

Capella micro-satellites are built and launched for a fraction of the cost of large satellites, reducing the time required for responsive, high revisit Earth observation infrastructure. When fully deployed, the Capella constellation will be comprised of 12 polar orbits, a geometry optimized for maximum global coverage and revisit times that never exceed one hour.

In 2015, Arlington-based XpressSAR was the first American company to get a license from the Department of Commerce to operate a private, commercial, space-based, SAR (synthetic aperture radar) remote sensing system. The first XpressSAR satellite is to be launched in 2022. San Francisco-based Capella Space, a startup founded in 2016, launched its first SAR satellite in December 2018. They will have a 36-satellite constellation planned by 2022.

Capella’s high revisit x-band constellation with InSAR capability will capture millimeter-scale change’s on the Earth’s surface. Interferometric synthetic aperture radar is a radar technique used in geodesy and remote sensing. This geodetic method uses two or more synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images to generate maps of surface deformation or digital elevation, using differences in the phase of the waves returning to the satellite or aircraft. The technique can potentially measure millimeter-scale changes in deformation over spans of days to years. It has applications for geophysical monitoring of natural hazards, for example earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides, and in structural engineering, in particular monitoring of subsidence and structural stability.

Monitor Infrastructure from Space

Infrastructure failure is often catastrophic. For operators of airports, dams, power plants, roads and bridges across the world, preparedness is key—and the key to preparedness is access to relevant and timely data.

Now you can detect minute, sub-meter changes in built infrastructure at, or even below, the surface of the Earth from space: monitor the integrity of your mission-critical infrastructure with our space-based radar. By detecting early indications of stress from space, you can muster resources more frugally and maintain infrastructure more cost-effectively.

Monitor Farms and Crops from Space

The new space-based radar can measure soil moisture and inundation, detect where crops have been damaged, and provide a reliable and up-to-date source for insurance claims. The constellation paths mean Capella can reliably monitor many thousands of acres, and because they process raw data into information, you get it in the form that complements your terrestrial sensor infrastructure.

Guide First Responders in a Disaster

First responders will get valuable information in the fastest possible way—having a real impact on people’s survival. The communications infrastructure is often the first thing to go in a disaster, yet it’s never more valuable than when clear thinking, decisive action, and accurate intelligence are essential to saving lives. Hourly updates gets useful intelligence to all those in search, rescue and recovery operations.

10 thoughts on “Space Radar Will Capture Millimeter Changes on Earth With Hourly Updates”

  1. It is already an old method. This is only the latest iteration. With filtering, we should be able to identify the sub class. Hundreds of feet down. In fact, this is the primary reason the Soviets had so many nuclear reactors in space. To power these radars.

  2. How are you going to a find a sub with this? The ocean’s natural background noise {waves} should swamp the readings. This will be of much more use on land.

  3. If this useful SAR gear can fit on a micro satellite it would probably improve a lot by getting bigger and more frequent. Maybe it will be added to some of the satellites of the internet constellations like Starlink. It would share the power bus and be directly linked to the internet.

  4. This will be great for finding illicit tunnels. The US and Isreali goverments are going to use the hell out of this. It would also great for damage assessement after a military strike. I guess it would also be used for natural disasters to help people and route resources.

  5. “Millimeter-scale” can mean a few millimeters. Larger than at least some ants. But that’s only the vertical dimension. It’s not clear what their horizontal resolution is (maybe mentioned inside the link?). Probably at least centimeters, and may well be meters or even kilometers (probably not km if they want to measure roads and bridges; most likely meters). The height would be averaged across that sample size, I think.

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