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Archive for October, 2007

Satellite Images of Syria Nuclear Site Attack

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Satellite images show results of an airstrike by Israeli’s on northeastern Syria’s Nuclear site that occured on September 6, 2007. The target remains unknown but widespread reports say it may have been a nascent nuclear facility, which Syria has denied.

Analysts at the Institute for Science and International Security say the images taken Wednesday show tractor marks where the facility stood before the September 6, 2007 air strike took place. They say the satellite images also show what appears to be a trench that might have held buried pipelines connecting the suspected reactor facility to a water supply station.

The analysts say the cleanup will hinder a proposed investigation of the site by international nuclear inspectors. They say the dismantling of the building at such a rapid pace also suggests Syria may be trying to conceal evidence of what was there.

QuickBird Images of Syria Nuclear Site

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The building is located at the end of a dirt road just off the Euphrates River. The site is about 100 miles from the Iraqi border near the town of At Tibnah in northeastern Syria.

Copyright © 2007 DigitalGlobe. All Rights Reserved.

Watch Video from MSNBC on Syria Nuclear Site

The satellite images above were taken before and after the Israeli strike. These images showed a tall building similar to a reactor in Yongbyon, North Korea. A new satellite image was taken Wednesday October 24, 2007, showing that Syria apparently cleaned up the site of a suspected nuclear reactor after it was bombed by Israeli aircraft last month.

The “before”image on the left was taken August 18, 2007 the “after” image on right on October 24, 2007. The raid, which Syria has confirmed but which Israel and the U.S. have officially declined to discuss, took place September 6, 2007 United States officials mentioned that following the Israeli attack, Syria bulldozed the debris from the site, apparently to avoid having the facility’s purpose exposed. The International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA) has said it was studying satellite images to determine if it should investigate Syria’s nuclear activities and Israel’s raid.

SUSPECT REACTOR CONSTRUCTION SITE IN EASTERN
SYRIA: THE SITE OF THE SEPTEMBER 6 ISRAELI RAID

SYRIA UPDATE: SUSPECTED REACTOR SITE DISMANTLED

Satellite Images Capture California Fires

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

These satellite images captured the fierce easterly desert winds blowing smoke from wildfires in Southern California. Gale-force winds have fed more than a dozen fires from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border since breaking out on Sunday.

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Image Copyright © 2007 NASA

NASA’s Terra satellite (above image) have obtained new images of the California wildfires on October 23, 2007 illustrating the immense scale of the blazes. The National Interagency Fire Center reports that 12 large, uncontained fires have burned over 335,000 acres in Southern California. The fires have continued to spread due to the fierce, dry Santa Ana winds, the wildfires show the area between Los Angeles and San Diego, California. Fire activity is denoted with red pixels. Vast plumes of thick smoke can be seen blowing out over the Pacific Ocean.

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Image Copyright © 2007 European Space Agency

These Satellite Images from ESA (above) of California Fires were taken on October 22, 2007 the MERIS (Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer) instrument aboard ESAs Envisat satellite while working in Full Resolution mode to provide a spatial resolution of 300 metres.

Fires are raging from northern Los Angeles County and Malibu Beach through Orange County and down to San Diego County, these fires were caused by a long-term dry spell and, in some cases, downed power lines or destroyed power transformers. This fire being the worst seen ever has caused nearly one million people to evacuate and over 1,000 homes so far have been lost.

The fire has been moving fast, giving those who need to be evacuated maybe a 90-minute opportunity to get out. Security has been an issue there, but guards and police have been designated to cover every corner to prevent potential problems.

GeoEye-2 the World’s Highest Resolution Satellite in Development

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

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Dulles, Virgina – October 18, 2007 – GeoEye a leading producer of satellite and aerial imagery and geospatial information, today announced it has contracted with ITT Corporation to begin work on the camera for GeoEye’s next satellite, GeoEye-2. This is the first step in a phased development process for an advanced, third-generation satellite capable of discerning objects on the Earth’s surface as small as 0.25-meter (9.75 inch) in size. The company expects to contract with a satellite builder in 2008 and launch the satellite approximately three years after work begins under that contract.

GeoEye-2 will be of the same general class as GeoEye-1, but will benefit from significant improvements in capability, including enhanced direct tasking, and the potential to collect imagery of the Earth’s surface at 0.25-meter or 9.75-inch ground resolution. While GeoEye has an operating license from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to build and launch a satellite constellation with this extremely high ground resolution, the final decision regarding GeoEye-2′s resolution will be made in response to how best to serve customer requirements, as well as consideration of the current regulatory environment. Under current licensing constraints, only U.S. Government customers and specifically designated allies have access to imagery at this highest resolution while commercial customers receive imagery at the highest resolution allowed by U.S. regulations, currently 0.5-meter or 19.5 inch ground resolution.

While this contract announcement is for GeoEye-2, GeoEye is nearing the launch of its next-generation commercial satellite imaging system, GeoEye-1, slated for late first quarter or early second quarter 2008 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. GeoEye-1 will be the world’s highest resolution commercial Earth imaging satellite with the best geospatial accuracy available. The satellite will be able to discern objects on the ground . 41-meter or 16 inches in size or larger. More importantly, GeoEye-1 will be able to locate an object that size to within about nine feet of its true location on the surface of the globe without ground control points. Imagery an be supplied in color or if the customer prefers, in black and white.

New WorldView-1 Satellite Images

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

DigitalGlobe today revealed the first images from WorldView-1, the highest resolution, most agile commercial satellite ever flown. WorldView-1 was successfully launched on September 18 from Vandenberg Air Force Base and is expected to be fully operational and delivering imagery products by the end of the year if not sooner.WorldView-1′s first images include half-meter snapshots from: Houston, Texas, USA acquired October 2, 2007 Yokohama, Japan acquired October 5, 2007 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia acquired October 5, 2007

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Houston, Texas

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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Yokohama, Japan

For WorldView-1 Satellite Sensor specifications Click Here

WorldView-1 is part of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agencys (NGA) NextView program, and was partially financed through an agreement with the NGA. The majority of the imagery captured by WorldView-1 for the NGA will also be available for distribution through DigitalGlobes Image Library. Additionally, WorldView-1 immediately frees capacity on DigitalGlobes QuickBird to meet the growing commercial demand for multi-spectral geospatial imagery.

Frequent revisits increase image collection opportunities, enhance change detection applications and enable accurate map updates. The satellite is capable of collecting, storing and downlinking more frequently updated global imagery products than any other commercial imaging satellite in orbit, allowing for expedited image capture, processing and delivery to customers where speed is a driving factor. WorldView-1 is equipped with state-of-the-art geo-location accuracy capability and exhibits unprecedented agility with rapid targeting and efficient in-track stereo collection.

WorldView-1 is expected to be in operation for about seven years, it is the first of two advanced remote sensing satellites that DigitalGlobe plans to launch. DigitalGlobe has said its sister satellite WorldView-2 will be launched late next year.

North Korea Nuclear Facilities – Yongbyon 3D Flythrough Movie from Stereo IKONOS Satellite Image Data at 0.8m Resolution

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Satellite Imaging Corporation created a 3D Flythrough movie of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facilities to provide high resolution details of the 5 and 50 MW (e) reactors and other nuclear facilities.

Satellite Imaging Corporation in cooperation with GeoEye created a 3D Terrain Model of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities in North Korea. The creation of the 3D Flythrough movie was made possible with the use of Stereo IKONOS Satellite image data and 2m DEM extracted from the image data.

“This new 3D terrain model can provide organizations and agencies with a bird’s eye view of the nuclear site to observe and monitor any significant activities that may occur since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) put a freeze on the site.”

North Korea – 3D Movie of Nuclear Facilities at Yongbyon

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Broadband connection and QuickTime player required – Size: 21 MB

<1m Stereo IKONOS Satellite Image Data and 2m DSM

Copyright © GeoEye & Satellite Imaging Corporation. All rights reserved.

To View video on SPACE.com click here

Satellite remote sensing and GIS technologies combined with appropriate sets of geospatial information is an invaluable tool for the handling, display, and analysis of information involved in every aspect of Global Security.

History of Yongbyon:
A “freeze” was ordered by inspectors from the IAEA in July of 2007 on North Korea’s main source of plutonium, the 5 megawatt-electric reactor — MW (e) at the Yongbyon nuclear site and its nearby plutonium separation plant, the Radiochemical Laboratory (see associated Images). This freeze was ordered under the “Agreed Framework” with the United States. The nuclear site will be monitored through satellite images, surveillance cameras and short notice inspections to assure that there will be no activities within the site.

Research Facility

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Radio Chemical Laboratory

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Construction of the gas-graphite reactor began in 1980. It is believed to have been made operational in 1986-1987. The 5 megawatt-electric reactor is estimated to produce about 5-7 kilograms of plutonium each year for North Korea a total estimated plutonium stock of between 46kg and 64kg, of which about 28-50 kg is estimated to be in separated form and usable in nuclear weapons. In 1989, high altitude aerial photographs showed the presence in Yongbyon of a structure which could possibly be used to separate plutonium from nuclear fuel. Between 1994 and 2003, North Korea’s stock of separated plutonium was enough to create 4 to 13 nuclear weapons.

5 MWe Reactor

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50 MWe Reactor

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Before Yongbyon was shut down, international observers tried to determine when the reactor was in use by analyzing satellite images which showed steam plumes coming from the cooling tower.

Although the closure of Yongbyon is seen as a major breakthrough concern remains over Pyongyang’s commitment to fully give up its nuclear arsenal.

Unclassified reports were confirmed by satellite images which indicated that North Korea shut down the reactor in April 2005, likely to unload the fuel. The reactor’s core was estimated to have contained 10-15 kilograms of plutonium.

IAEA inspectors regularly monitor the 5-MW (e) reactor, the fuel fabrication plant, and the reprocessing plant. IAEA uses all technical means available to monitor the freeze at these facilities. Newly acquired Mono and Stereo Satellite images continue to support the monitoring of the site for any significant construction activities. Due to long inactivity period and weather issues the completion of this reactor would likely take several years. If finished, the 50 megawatt-electric reactor could produce enough plutonium annually for roughly ten nuclear weapons.

More on Yongbyon Nuclear Facilities (Click Here)

Satellite Imaging Corporation acquires high resolution mono and stereo satellite image data utilized for security and other applications including the use of specialized image processing techniques and spectral analysis algorithms, thereby enhancing the visualization of terrain conditions, vegetation and facilities in remote areas. The third dimension (3D), provided by the extraction of a Digital Elevation Model from high resolution Stereo Satellite sensors such as IKONOS, WorldView-1 and GeoEye-1 (scheduled to be launched during to be second quarter of 2008), 3D Visualization provides a greater transparency for nuclear and other facilities around the World.

The enhanced image processing techniques utilized and use of a high resolution digital elevation models (DEM’s) we can closely examine various terrain conditions and attributes, their influence on the movement and changes of soil, vegetation and nutrients, as well as the resulting effect on forest, plant, and wildlife productivity.

For additional information on how this remote sensing technology supports Global Security and monitoring our fragile environment, please visit our Links below:

Landcover change detection

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