SAN FRANCISCO — Dauria Aerospace and Elecnor Deimos of Spain announced plans May 12 to establish a nine satellite constellation called Deimos Perseus to offer multispectral Earth imagery with widespread applications, including agriculture, forestry and business operation monitoring.
The constellation will include eight Perseus-O satellites, Dauria’s moderate-resolution Earth imaging spacecraft, as well as Deimos-1, a remote sensing satellite launched in 2009 by Elecnor Deimos, a subsidiary of Madrid-based Elecnor.
Deimos Perseus is the latest in a flurry of small-satellite constellations announced in recent months. That activity reflects growing demand for Earth observation data. In its SmallSat report released in March, New York-based NewSpace Global projects that 10 to 20 percent of the $500 million to $1 billion in revenue forecast for small-satellite firms in 2014 stems from Earth observation products and services. NewSpace Global analysts expect that market to continue to grow 25 percent per year in the next several years, said Richard David, NewSpace Global chief executive.
Elecnor Deimos developed Deimos-1 in collaboration with Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd. The Deimos-1 spacecraft design was based on Surrey Satellite Technologies MicroSat-100 modular nanosatellite. Deimos-1 provides Earth imagery with a ground resolution of 22 meters in three spectral bands: green, red and near-infrared.
The eight Perseus-O satellites destined for the Deimos Perseus constellation will carry sensors similar to those of Deimos-1 with the same resolution and spectral coverage, said Mikhail Kokorich, founder and president of Dauria Aerospace, a multinational aerospace company with headquarters in Munich and offices in Mountain View, California, and Skolkovo, the high-technology hub near Moscow.
Dauria Aerospace and Elecnor Deimos plan to launch the first four Perseus-O satellites into the Deimos Perseus constellation in early 2015 and four additional spacecraft in the fall of 2015. The team has not yet selected a launch vehicle, Kokorich said.
The Deimos Perseus constellation is designed to gather multispectral imagery of Earth’s arable regions approximately once per day. That frequency contrasts with NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Landsat spacecraft, which revisit areas once every 16 days.
“That is a long time between images,” Kokorich said. “Landsat is good for monitoring slower processes and Deimos Perseus will be good for monitoring daily changes.”
Customers also are likely to find Deimos Perseus easier to use than many existing Earth observation constellations, because data gathered by the space-based sensors will be available through Dauria Aerospace spinoff, CloudEO, a cloud-based hub where satellite imagery can be stored and accessed by applications developers, geospatial data users and service providers.
“The beauty of this is you can easily develop any type of application,” Kokorich said. “We would like to help expand the market with a new generation of customers and applications.”
Dauria Aerospace and Elecnor Deimos are scheduled to launch additional satellites this summer to address other missions. Dauria Aerospace plans to launch two Perseus-M maritime surveillance satellites in June from Yasny on a Dnepr launch vehicle. Perseus-M and Perseus-O were developed by Dauria Aerospace subsidiary Canopus Systems of Mountain View.
Elecnor Deimos is scheduled to fly its Deimos-2 satellite on the same rocket. Deimos-2 is designed to acquire multispectral imagery with a resolution of 75 centimeters.
Dauria Aerospace plans to launch another satellite, a technology testbed called DX-1, in June onboard the Russian Soyuz/Fregat rocket expected to carry Russia’s Meteor-M2 weather satellite into orbit.