WASHINGTON — SkyWatch, a satellite data distributor based in Ontario, Canada, announced a new imagery product that combines radar and optical images.  

SkyWatch operates a platform called EarthCache that gives its customers access to commercial satellite data. The company said there is now a growing demand for integrated images that combine visually appealing pictures from optical satellites with data from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites that can see at night and through clouds. 

“At any given point in time, the majority of the Earth’s surface is experiencing atmospheric conditions that make optical capture challenging, if not impossible,” David Proulx, chief product officer at SkyWatch, said Aug. 16 in a news release.

The new service allows EarthCache customers to capture a SAR image of the same area of interest of their optical capture and overlay the data. “One of the benefits of SAR is its ability to capture images under all weather conditions. When you’re trying to monitor and respond to critical events with satellite imagery, but it’s a cloudy day, that’s not very helpful,” said Proulx.

New partnership with Umbra

SkyWatch also announced it is providing SAR data from Umbra, a startup based in Santa Barbara, California, that operates a constellation of six radar satellites. 

“The addition of Umbra to our virtual constellation of over 400 satellites allows us to further enable our customers to solve complex problems,” said SkyWatch’s chief executive James Slifierz.

Joe Morrison, vice president of commercial experience at Umbra, said SkyWatch was “one of the first companies to propel the Earth observation industry into the modern era of web-based, API-first tasking.”

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...