The Next Generation of Airbus’ Radar and Optical Satellite Constellation

Illustration - New generation of satellites

As revealed a few weeks ago, Airbus Defence and Space is designing and building a new constellation of optical satellites, comprising of four identical and agile sensors delivering even higher-resolution imagery. They will be positioned by pairs, phased at 180°, on sun-synchronous near-polar orbits. This four satellite constellation configuration will be able to serve high temporal applications as well as image any target twice daily over the globe. With 30cm resolution multi-spectral imagery to serve a broad range of domains, the constellation will also open up new applications in developing markets, analytics and intelligence. The satellites will be launched in 2020 and 2021.

Airbus Defence and Space is also working on the next generation of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites as a follow-on mission to TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X from 2022. The decision taken in 2015 during the World Radiocommunication Conference to double the allocated frequency bandwidths for Earth Observation SAR systems opened the door to an unprecedented image quality of future satellites. Thanks to this larger frequency allocation, the next generation of SAR satellites will be able to offer high-quality 25cm resolution imagery and quad polarimetry data for improved visualisation facilitating enhanced analysis of surface features such as infrastructures and vegetation.

The Next Generation of Airbus’ Radar and Optical Satellite Constellation