11th May 2018Blog

Exploring Future Missions with the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation

By Owen Hawkins, Product Development Director.

Last week, the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation held a Mission Challenge workshop in Swindon. The workshop aimed to bring together the Earth Observation community on behalf of the UK Space Agency’s Earth Observation Advisory Committee.

The event was an opportunity for industry and academia to present new mission concepts to support the growth of the UK Earth Observation sector. According to the latest reports, the sector now boasts an annual turnover of £14.9bn and growth of over 71% since 2012.

The UK Space Agency keeps a list of candidate missions to propose to partner countries, as commercial initiatives or potentially for national funding.  What became obvious was that the UK is not short of great mission ideas! Together, the group explored options for both SAR and optical spacecraft and instruments, as well as the intended applications of data. The breadth of missions discussed was wide; from monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, GPS reflectometry for low power measurements over the sea to ice and forest monitoring. There is no shortage of scientific intrigue and entrepreneurial spirit in the UK!

Our suggestion was for a Vivid-i Evolution; a video mission providing near-real-time data delivery and other key capabilities to make observations more useful to a wider range of users.  Our mission has been scoped to deliver quickly and is intended for commercial and scientific use.

There were also many large and highly ambitious missions proposed.  Each mission aimed to answer the biggest questions we have about the Earth and our survival on its surface, or to meet fundamental scientific challenges.  Deciding between these is a real challenge, but at least we are spoiled for choice!

If you wish to discuss this workshop with Owen, please do not hesitate to contact us.