Satnews Daily
September 16th, 2015

SSTL's DMC3 Constellation Demos + Delivers 1 Meter Capability

[Satnews] The first 1-meter high resolution optical satellite imagery from the DMC3/TripleSat Constellation satellites has now been released.

The three DMC3 Constellation satellites, flight ready in SSTL's clean rooms before they were shipped to the launch site, June 2015.

Photo is courtesy of SSTL.

This follows the successful launch of the three Earth Observation mini-satellites on an Indian PSLV in July and in-orbit commissioning and calibration by engineers from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). The very high resolution imager on board the satellites provides 1-metre native ground sampling distance (GSD) in panchromatic mode and 4-metre GSD in multispectral mode with a swath width of 24km.

The Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology Company Ltd (21AT), a commercial Earth observation satellite operator based in Beijing, has bought 100 percent of the imaging capacity of the three satellites for seven years to provide their satellite data services from the TripleSat Constellation. 21AT will also create new applications for customers and business opportunities for worldwide partners through its operational information services powered by the TripleSat Constellation.

DMC3 1 meter pan image of Sydney airport DMC3 satellite 1m resolution pan-sharpened image is an extract showing the airport in Sydney (Australia) taken on July 31, 2015.

Image courtesy of SSTL.

The wide swath width of the imagers combined with agile off-pointing will enable the TripleSat Constellation to target anywhere on Earth at least once per day and provides the best combination of spatial resolution and time resolution—aiming at stimulating operational monitoring applications, such as urban planning and intelligent management, based on changes detected by timely regular, cloud-free, very high-resolution imagery.

The DMC3 satellites were placed into a 651km sun-synchronous LEO by a PSLV-XL launch vehicle from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota launch site in India on 10th July 2015. The launch was provided by ANTRIX and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The DMC3 satellites in the TripleSat Constellation are phased 120 degrees apart around the same orbit using their on-board propulsion systems. 21AT has contracted SSTL to provide satellite platform services for the Constellation in orbit.

The DMC3/TripleSat Constellation satellites use the 450 kg. SSTL-300S1 series platform, which provides 45 degree fast slew off-pointing and is capable of acquiring multiple targets in one pass using multiple viewing modes. SSTL has already manufactured a fourth SSTL-S1 Earth Observation satellite for another customer and has a production line ready to deliver further satellites of this type. In agreement with 21AT, future satellites may have the opportunity to join the TripleSat Constellation.

Executive Comments

Sir Martin Sweeting, SSTL’s founder and Chief Executive, welcomed a comment from Dave Parker, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, who said, “Congratulations to SSTL on the acquisition of these one meter resolution images of our planet from the DMC3 constellation—a real demonstration of technical precision. SSTL's expertise in small satellites plays a major role in the space sector's £3.6bn contribution to the UK economy through exports.”