Capella unveils automated tasking products

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SAN FRANCISCO — Capella Space unveiled three products April 14 that automate tasking of the company’s constellation of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites.

Capella’s online platform, the Capella Console, is designed to allow customers to task the constellation of SAR satellites to acquire imagery with 50-centimeter resolution.

With the new products, Vessel Detection, Change Detection and Global Change Monitoring, “repeat tasking or monitoring is now automated,” Dan Getman, Capella vice president of product, told SpaceNews. “You can specify a location and say, ‘I would like to get an image of this location every day, once a week or once a month,’ and we automatically capture that for you.”

SAR satellites obtain Earth imagery day and night through darkness and clouds, a capability that has been highlighted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where cloud cover often obscures electro-optical imagery.

Detecting vessels at sea or near ports is another popular SAR application.

With Capella’s new Vessel Detection product, “the ships are automatically found in the images and both the image and the ships are delivered to you,” Getman said. “Customers can then process those data themselves to look for behavioral differences.”

For the Change Detection product, Capella provides a series of images of the area a customer wants to monitor. Objects entering the area are highlighted in blue and objects that leave the area in red.

To create the Global Change Monitoring product, the Capella Console is ingesting SAR data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 program. Twin Sentinel-1 satellites capture imagery with a lower resolution than Capella’s but a larger swath width. Sentinel-1 satellites observe Earth’s entire landmass every 12 days.

“We use Sentinel-1 data to do regional change detection that we then provide the customer,” Getman said. If a customer wants to zoom in on the change that occurred, the customer can task Capella’s constellation of seven satellites to acquire high-resolution imagery of the specific location or object in question, he added.

“Eventually, the concept is that we automate new image collection based on our automated change detection,” Getman said. “If something interesting is happening, we would start collecting Capella data rapidly for the customer.”

Two of the three new products Vessel Detection and Global Change Monitoring, are currently available. Capella plans to offer Change Detection by the end of May.

Payam Banazadeh, Capella CEO and co-founder, said in a statement, “We’re seeing how access to near-real-time information through routine revisit can be the difference in taking more efficient routes, catching preventable mistakes or even saving human lives. We are only scratching the surface of what can be done with data-integrated satellite technology.”

Getman said in a statement, “The introduction of analytics tools in the Capella Console, in combination with the flexibility of our satellite constellation, delivers an entirely new experience for customers to tap into insights from space with the quality, reliability and timeliness they need to meet their mission and business objectives.”