Arctic Sea Ice : Forum

AGW in general => Science => Topic started by: gerontocrat on June 09, 2019, 10:25:41 AM

Title: Satellite News
Post by: gerontocrat on June 09, 2019, 10:25:41 AM
Starting this thread with a request - anyone any news on new satellites for NSIDC and JAXA sea ice data?

I am asking because the existing satellites are, I believe, somewhat long in the tooth. Copy of post in sea ice extent data thread below..
Quote from Gerontocrat

Quote from: Juan C. García on Today at 06:58:36 AM

Quote from: Rich on Today at 06:44:08 AM
Are there any plans to reduce the grid size?
There are always new satellites with better resolution. The question is if institutions like NSIDC are going to change the algorithm that they use to measure extent and take full advantage of the new instruments.

Nobody can go back in time and adjust the NSIDC data collected by the instrument on the DMSP satelliteS  to the higher resolution data collected by current instruments and maintain consistency in the record. That is why the graphs using higher-resolution data from the new instruments on the new satellites (e.g. from Wipneus) only go back a few years.

The much greater problem is the inevitability of the NSIDC record dating from 1979 ending. The satellite up there is years beyond its design life and the United States Air Force programme DMSP was killed by Mike Rogers in 2017. The last satellite is now in a museum somewhere.

I asked NSIDC a few months ago what the plan is for when this last satellite fails. The answer was along the lines of "under discussion". It will be a real shame if this unique record is cut short.

As Arctic Sea Ice Shows Record Decline, Scientists Prepare to Go Blind

Air Force unveils $500M satellite museum piece
And things are not much better at JAXA. JAXA’s GCOM-W1 satellite was launched in 2012 with the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) on board.

Its design life was 3 to 5 years.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: b_lumenkraft on June 09, 2019, 10:38:11 AM
And there i thought you forgot about it. Silly me.

Thanks for opening this thread Gerontocrat.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: ArcticMelt2 on June 09, 2019, 10:53:18 AM
Recently watched that AMSR3 will start after 2022 (satellite GOSAT-3).
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: gerontocrat on June 09, 2019, 03:34:51 PM
And there i thought you forgot about it. Silly me.

I did forget about it. |Ho hum

GRACE Follow On Project
Below is stuff about data and when data will be available

For my own amusement I pushed some buttons on panoply and got the graph below.  But  do not know that package at all, at all. Some of you know how to do this stuff.

Perhaps simpler stuff will emerge, but I bet I never see data all nicely laid out in a .csv file.
Finding GRACE-FO data
Index of /grace-fo/GravIS/GFZ/Level-3/ICE/
[parent directory]
Name   Size   Date Modified
AIS/      10/04/2019, 20:12:00
GIS/      10/04/2019, 20:12:00
373 kB   11/04/2019, 13:53:00

updates from Potsdam at this link
e-mail from Potsdam

Frank Flechtner
1 Jun 2019, 08:09 (8 days ago)
to me

Dear xxxxxxx,

I advice to visit our GRACE and GRACE-FO archives at GFZ, the Information System and Data Center (ISDC) at and

At GRACE (but also GRACE-FO) you can read there: To get access via FTP to the different GRACE Level-1B (instrument and orbit data as well as atmosphere and ocean de-aliasing (AOD) model), Level-2 (gravity models in terms of spherical harmonic coefficients) and Level-3 (user-friendly gridded) data and documentation, (monthly) newsletters and various project related documentation please follow the link "GRACE Gravity Data and Documentation" on the left hand side. The link “News related to GRACE Gravity Data” provides further useful information on recent Level-1B and Level-2 data distribution. The Level-3 data provided at ISDC are based on the most recent GRACE data release from GFZ and are visualized and described at GFZ´s Gravity Information Service (GravIS). 
The Level-2 (and later L3) GRACE-FO products will be available in about 10-14 days. So far only L1 have been made available a week ago. I also ask you to get familiar with the GravIS portal where you should find "ready to use" data also for Greenland and Antarctica.

Best regards

Frank Flechtner

Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: gerontocrat on June 15, 2019, 10:50:03 PM
The link below is to a new paper gives a real insight into the measurement of Arctic Sea Ice.
If the writers were business people they would have called it "A SWOT Analysis".

For example the the paper talks at length about the deficiencies and difficulties in the measurement of ice thickness. Loads of stuff about loads of other data types as well.

It also gives more data on the parlous state of the existing satellites used, especially for sea ice extent and area. The only possible stand-by if failure happens soon is a Chinese series of satellites already up there. (Can you see Trump allowing NASA to ask China to bail them out?)
Essential gaps and uncertainties in the understanding of the roles and functions of Arctic sea ice

Really worth a read
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: b_lumenkraft on July 01, 2019, 10:59:18 PM
Using NASA Data to Monitor Drought and Food Insecurity
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: b_lumenkraft on July 11, 2019, 09:49:03 PM
Sentinel playground down?  :-\
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: solartim27 on July 11, 2019, 11:55:33 PM
ESA using their satellites to model tidal flow in the arctic

Full article:
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: GeorgeDan on July 26, 2019, 02:40:36 PM

I am new here ::)

And I see that here I can find very interesting and useful information ;D

Thank you!
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: gerontocrat on July 27, 2019, 09:35:34 PM

I am new here ::)

And I see that here I can find very interesting and useful information ;D

Thank you!
That's the idea. Always glad to hear that people think this is more than a blah blah shop.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: gerontocrat on July 27, 2019, 10:12:59 PM
GRACE-FO is producing loads of stuff.

For those who know what they are doing - start here:- (or over at JPL)

For those, like me, who don't know what they are doing - try here

By following that and pushing buttons, I found new data on Greenland and Antarctic Mass Loss to May 2019 which I am shoving into the computer at the moment.

If I find out more.....

Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: vox_mundi on August 01, 2019, 05:21:26 PM
Researchers Calculate Soil Freezing Depth from Satellite Data

A team of researchers from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), the Institute for Water and Environmental Problems of the Siberian Branch of RAS, and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) has proposed a way to determine soil freezing depth based on satellite microwave radiometry. The findings were published in Studying the Earth From Space, a Russian-language journal of RAS.

... "This method has many advantages: gathering data from large areas independently from solar lighting and atmospheric conditions, a high frequency of observation in the high latitudes, sensitivity to subterranean processes, and relative cheapness," said Associate Professor Vasiliy Tikhonov from the space physics department at MIPT, who is also a senior researcher at the Space Research Institute of RAS. "We tested the method's reliability on the Kulunda Plain, a vast steppe in the southeast of Russia's West Siberian Plain. To this end, we compared satellite microwave radiometry data with the actual soil parameters and climate indicators measured on location at weather stations."

Figure 1. Frozen soil layer thickness, as measured and calculated using the model. The digits 1 through 4 indicate four studied areas on the Kulunda Plain in Altai Krai, Russia. The black symbols correspond to directly measured values, and the red triangles stand for calculated values.

... It turned out that identical sets of satellite data may correspond to different soil freezing depths. The additional factors at play are soil moisture, salinity, and composition, which can all affect the soil's capacity for microwave emission. The researchers also found that one-time radiometric observations do not produce reliable results, because radio waves may reflect at the interface between the frozen and unfrozen soil.

The team accounted for these findings in their calculations, proposing a method that determines soil freezing depth with a high accuracy based on the data from the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite. To remotely determine soil freezing depth, the researchers employed daily series of thermal emission measurements, along with their own emission model that incorporates soil characteristics. The time period considered in the study began with the date of freezing, defined as a spike in thermal radiation picked up by the satellite. It ended with the first thaw day, when the amount of thermal radiation dropped sharply.

Open Access: D. A. Boyarskii et al. On evaluation of depth of soil freezing based on SMOS satellite data (, Исследования Земли из Космоса (2019)


SMOS detects freezing soil as winter takes grip
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: petm on August 04, 2019, 04:53:40 AM
... risk of a gap ...

Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: blumenkraft on August 04, 2019, 10:55:08 AM
Sentinel making progress apparently. The error message is gone now, but it still does not load the canvas.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: vox_mundi on August 06, 2019, 05:20:42 PM
CryoSat Conquers Ice on Arctic Lakes

For the first time, CryoSat's altimeter has been used to measure the thickness of ice in the Great Slave Lake and the Great Bear Lake, in the Northwest Territory of Canada.

Lakes in North America's Arctic and sub-Arctic regions cover between 15% and 40% of the landscape, and play an important role in the region's climate. They are also a vital resource for both society and an important habitat for aquatic wildlife.

The Great Slave Lake and the Great Bear Lake were chosen for their flat and smooth icy surfaces, and scientists were able to distinguish radar reflections from both ice-free and ice-covered areas. By subtracting the travel times of the radar signals between the ice surface and ice bottom, they were able to measure the thickness of the ice floating on the lake.

The distance between the two reflections increased during winter, representing the seasonal thickening of the lake ice, and were then accurately validated with in situ drill-hole measurements.

Christian Haas from the University of Bremen (formerly at York and Alberta), said, "Thanks to CryoSat, we are able to study seasonal changes and cycles of ice thickness, as well as volume and variability for many other smaller lakes in the sub-Arctic.

“In addition to monitoring ice thickness, the method could also be used to retrieve lake water levels and volume throughout winter.”

Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: gerontocrat on August 11, 2019, 08:51:40 PM

It is Germany (the Institute in Potsdam) that seems to be taking the lead in getting GRACE-FO data out to the world. (I wonder if the Trump effect is giving NASA real problems on climate-based stuff). The links are -Greenland Ice Sheet, -Antarctic Ice Sheet,
and loads more, e.g.
Terrestrial Water Storage Anomalies
Terrestrial Water Storage (TWS) variability as observed by GRACE/GRACE-FO is an integrated signal from a number of different processes. The following individual components are available:

GRACE: Water Storage
Water mass anomalies expressed in terms of equivalent water height from all water storage compartments including snow, surface water, soil moisture, and deep groundwater.
Errors: Water Storage
Time-variable component of the uncertainty estimate for the GRACE-based water storage variability.
Model: Atmospheric Mass
Atmospheric mass variability as represented in the non-tidal de-aliasing model AOD1B expressed in terms of equivalent water height.

The clever ones amongst us will be able then to link to,

and play with the NC and TIF files there.

The ASCII file is not there (with the numeric data on icesheet mass changes), it disappeared. How come. I emailed to find out and got an answer amazingly quickly :-

From: me

I am a contributor to the Arctic Sea Ice Forum (
One of the subjects I post on is mass changes of the AIS and GIS (using the handle gerontocrat)

We have all been waiting for GRACE-FO to produce the data and thanks to some really helpful e-mails from  Prof. Dr. Frank Flechtner  I was able to access the ASCII files produced by you including GRACE-FO data to May 2019 and from that data post some initial graphs on our forum.

A few days ago I found the GRAVIS webpages  and and then followed the link to the latest level 3 products @

To my dismay, while the .nc and .tif files are there, the ASCII files for the GIS and AIS  have gone missing.(e.g. file GRAVIS-3_2002095-2019151_GFZOP_0600_GIS_BAVE_AWI_0001)

Rather than push my luck with  Prof. Dr. Frank Flechtner gain, I thought to try you as the author to find out if this is temporary and when we might hope to see some even more up-to-date data. (With the DMI data portal providiing SMB (surface mass balance data)and climate data by basins also from DMI the combination of the three sets of data looks like a powerful analysis tool).

thank you for using the GRACE L3 data from gravis portal and posting it on the Arctic sea-ice forum.

I also appreciate your feedback concerning the data presentation and availability of the basins.

We had discovered a slight error in one of the text files and had to take the files down to fix the problem. I will tend to this early next week.

I can send you the basin geometry via email if you wish. I thought we did have them on the portal.

Thanks for your understanding,


PS: And yes, the DMI data portal is a great resource. We are working at the German Polar Sciences institute to implement something similar. Maybe you are aware of our sea-ice portal:


Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: DrTskoul on August 12, 2019, 01:18:45 AM
Great effort gero....
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: blumenkraft on August 12, 2019, 09:08:10 PM working again! \o/
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: Shared Humanity on August 13, 2019, 02:42:03 AM
Great effort gero....

It is gentlepersons like gerontocrat who make this site work...
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: DrTskoul on August 13, 2019, 03:02:06 AM
You mean geropersons....
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: vox_mundi on August 13, 2019, 06:16:38 PM
Satellite Study Reveals That Area Over Emits One Billion Tonnes of Carbon

A vast region of Africa affected by drought and changing land use emits as much carbon dioxide each year as 200 million cars, research suggests.

Observations from two satellites have consistently shown emissions over northern tropical Africa of between 1 and 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon each year.

The data suggest stored carbon has been released from degraded soils—those subject to prolonged or repeated drought or land use change—in western Ethiopia and western tropical Africa, but scientists say further study is needed to provide a definitive explanation for the emissions.

... The carbon source might have gone undiscovered with land-based surveys alone, according to a team led by researchers from the University of Edinburgh.

Researchers examined data gathered by two NASA satellite missions—Japanese Greenhouse Gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT) and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2).

Open Access: Paul I. Palmer, Net carbon emissions from African biosphere dominate pan-tropical atmospheric CO2 signal (, Nature Communications (2019)
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: blumenkraft on August 31, 2019, 07:53:32 PM
What a Tweet Tells Us About US Spy Satellites
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: vox_mundi on September 18, 2019, 05:29:37 PM
Satellites Spot Carbon Pollution From Oil and Gas Wells

Methane-tracking satellites named Claire and Iris pressure oil and gas producers to act.

... Those methane leaks may soon have nowhere to hide thanks to a growing wave of private, methane-detecting satellites being placed in orbit. Canada's GHGSat ( led the charge in 2016 with its carbon-tracking Claire microsatellite (, and the company now has a second-generation microsat ready to launch. Several more methane-detecting satellites are coming, including one from the Environmental Defense Fund ( If gas producers don't find and squelch their own pollution, this proliferation of remote observers will make it increasingly likely that others will shine a spotlight on it.


The technology improvements on Iris are a mix of lessons learned from Claire and some original engineering. Tweaks to Claire’s spectrometer and optics will make Iris more sensitive. In order to measure small emissions sources with Claire, GHGSat must combine at least 10 or so images of a site, sometimes from multiple flyovers, to get a statistically significant reading of methane emissions. “Whereas it might have taken us 20 measurements to see smaller plumes with Claire, we should be able to see those plumes with a single pass with Iris,” says Germain.

Much of the boost comes from better optics that reduce stray light and internal reflections. Some improvements are possible thanks to a tighter spectral detection range. Whereas Claire was designed to detect both CO2 and methane, Iris’s spectrometer will only see the telltale light absorption patterns for methane.

GHGSat has also squeezed a potentially game-changing system onto Iris’s microwave-sized platform: an optical communications downlink, which is virtually nonexistent on large commercial satellites and will be a first for a microsat. If the experimental 1-gigabit-per-second laser-based transmission works, it will replace Iris's 2-megabit-per-second radio and smash GHGSat's greatest operational bottleneck. “We could have a thousand-fold increase in downlink capacity, which would allow us to take many, many more observations per satellite,” says Germain.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: kassy on October 06, 2019, 06:18:42 PM
After 11 straight years of success, the U.S.-European Jason-2/Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM) has come to an end. A joint mission combining the forces of NASA, the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), OSMT has studied Earth's changing oceans at a critical time in the planet's history.


the satellite leaves behind a powerful, unsung legacy: It has charted almost 2 inches (5 centimeters) of global sea level rise, a rise stemming from man-made climate change. Data from the mission resulted in over 2,000 academic papers.

"Jason-2/OSTM was a high point of operational satellite oceanography as the first Jason mission to formally include EUMETSAT and NOAA as partners," says Steve Volz, assistant administrator of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service. “During its 11-year run, Jason-2/OSTM helped improve NOAA’s hurricane intensity forecasts and provided important observations of marine winds and waves and in doing so has anchored these essential ocean altimetry observations in NOAA’s operational observing system requirements.”

Jason-2 wasn't supposed to last this long. The coalition launched the satellite after the success of Jason-1, and it came with a 3-year life span. It has almost tripled its life expectancy, and was functioning while the international consortium launched its successor, Jason-3, in 2016.

Not a bad run for number 2.  :)
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: Stephan on October 26, 2019, 09:25:39 PM
It seems EOSDIS worldview (Antarctica) has no updates since October 23. Any guesses what is not working?
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: Stephan on October 31, 2019, 06:40:03 PM
It is working again now  :)
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: vox_mundi on November 21, 2019, 05:52:35 PM
New Earth Mission Will Track Rising Oceans Into 2030

For the first time, U.S and European agencies are preparing to launch a 10-year satellite mission to continue to study the clearest sign of global warming—rising sea levels. The Sentinel-6/Jason-CS mission (short for Jason-Continuity of Service), will be the longest-running mission dedicated to answering the question: How much will Earth's oceans rise by 2030?

The mission consists of two identical satellites, Sentinel-6A and Sentinel-6B, launching five years apart. The satellite is being prepared for a scheduled launch in November 2020 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

Sentinel-6/Jason-CS will continue studying not just sea level change but also changes in ocean circulation, climate variability such as El Niño and La Niña, and weather patterns, including hurricanes and storms.

Sentinel-6/Jason-CS will measure down to the millimeter how much global sea level rises during the 2020s and how fast that rise accelerates. As the rate increases, humans will need to adapt to the effects of rising seas—including flooding, coastal erosion, hazards from storms and negative impacts to marine life.

Along with measuring sea level rise, the mission will provide datasets that can help with weather predictions, assessing temperature changes in the atmosphere and collecting high-resolution vertical profiles of temperature and humidity.

As with its Jason-series predecessors, Sentinel-6/Jason-CS will gather global ocean data every 10 days, providing insights into large ocean features like El Niño events. However, unlike previous Jason-series missions, its higher-resolution instruments will also be able to provide data on smaller ocean features—including complex currents—that will benefit navigation and fishing communities.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: blumenkraft on January 04, 2020, 05:22:42 PM
Here you have reconstructed Earth photos taken by Apollo astronauts compared with recently restored archived weather satellite images


Satellite of love - 2
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: blumenkraft on January 07, 2020, 04:53:35 PM
Extended Deadline for the Sentinel Hub Custom Script Contest

We realized that the deadline immediately after the holiday season does not align best with people’s plans, so we decided to extend it until January 31st. Hand in up to three different scripts which run in Sentinel Hub EO Browser and win attractive prizes.

Link >>
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: gerontocrat on January 09, 2020, 08:00:04 PM
Decided to post this here, and not on Space X.

Re: Satellite News - What could possibly go wrong?

SpaceX Starlink mega-constellation: 'Limited time' to fix brightness issue
California's SpaceX company says it will work constructively with the scientific community to fix the brightness of its satellites. The firm has come under fire for the brilliance of its Starlink spacecraft, which are being launched to deliver broadband to every corner of the globe.

One hundred and eighty of the platforms have already been sent to orbit with thousands more to follow.

Astronomers fear they will interfere with telescope observations. Pictures of the night sky showing long streaks as the Starlinks cross the field of view have now become a heightened complaint.

But a SpaceX executive told the American Astronomical Society conference in Hawaii on Wednesday that the company was seeking ways to make the platforms much less intrusive.

Patricia Cooper, the firm's vice president of satellite government affairs, told a specially convened session that delegates' science was valued and there was no desire to impede it. The company is experimenting with a new coating that will hopefully reduce the reflectivity of the Starlinks. Of the 60 new satellites sent up on Monday, one in the batch had this corrective paint job. "We don't know yet if these mitigations are useful and effective. We tend to work very quickly. We tend to test, learn and iterate," she was reported as saying by the Space News reporter Jeff Foust.

Astronomers at the meeting said it would not be before the end of February - when the "dark satellite" had reached its operational orbit - that a proper assessment could be made of the coating experiment.

On launch, the Starlinks are released in a train that produces streaks in long exposure images
The AAS has put together a committee to investigate the impact of so-called mega-constellations.

It is not just SpaceX which is rolling out a giant network of satellites. Other companies plan to do the same - some to deliver telecommunications services, others to acquire rapid and repeat imagery of the Earth's surface.

Prof Patrick Seitzer, from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, said everybody had been surprised at the brightness of the Starlinks - including SpaceX.

He listed the difficulties posed to astronomy by their current reflectivity. The Michigan astronomer described how they produced multiple streaks and 'ghosts' in telescope pictures, how their brightness could saturate detectors, and generate cross-talk in electronics.

SpaceX may have more than 1,500 Starlinks in orbit by the year's end, but is proposing an eventual constellation that could grow from 12,000 to more than 40,000.

"Mega-constellations in Low Earth Orbit are coming and they are coming fast," said Prof Seitzer. "The new satellites are brighter than 99% of objects in orbit. If the (initial) 1,584 Starlinks was the only constellation to be launched, with six to nine visible above you at any one time, astronomers could handle it. But there are press releases sent out for 10 or 20 times that (number of satellites). It's just the start."

The first threshold he said SpaceX had to meet was making sure the Starlinks could not be seen with the naked eye when they were in their operational orbit some 550km above the Earth. The second threshold was to eliminate the saturation effect in the detectors of large professional telescopes.

Prof Seitzer said the facility that stood to be worst affected was the forthcoming NSF Vera C Rubin Observatory (formally called the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope). This will be making a map of the entire sky every three days. Its wide field of view and remarkable sensitivity to anything that's moving in sight of its detectors will make Vera Rubin especially vulnerable to Starlink interference. There is a dedicated team now of telescope and SpaceX engineers looking specifically at measures to help this one observatory.

While much of the focus has been on the optical visibility of satellites, there is growing concern also about radio interference. Dr Harvey Liszt, from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), Charlottesville, said his science had been fighting since the 1970s and 80s to get satellite operators to adhere to frequency regulations. "Welcome to my world," he said of the present fuss of the Starlinks' brightness.

Dr Liszt raised the issue of radar imaging satellites. Once rare, these spacecraft, which can map the Earth's surface day or night and in all weathers, are about to see their numbers shoot up as well. "Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) if pointed at a radio telescope when the telescope is pointed in its direction will burn out the radio astronomy receiver," the Charlottesville research told reporters. One of the radar constellation companies named by Dr Liszt as posing a potential problem is Finland's Iceye.

The firm's CEO, Rafal Modrzewski, said his team took its responsibilities seriously, and that it continued to investigate any potential risks Iceye's technology might pose to the global space community, both in orbit and on the ground. "Most importantly in this topic, Iceye complies with international regulation regarding our allocated bands," he told BBC News. "Mitigating any potential or perceived risks to sensors on ground can additionally be done proactively by tracking applicable SAR satellite orbits to avoid clashes with instrumentation, and in the case of Iceye, by also working with us if there are any remaining concerns."

While the AAS committee says it is encouraged by the open dialogue it is having with constellation companies, there are those within the astronomy community who feel the response from its leadership is too weak and too slow.

They worry the battle may already have been lost.

Prof Mark McCaughrean, a senior scientific adviser with the European Space Agency (Esa) and an infrared astronomer, tweeted: "It's a matter of asymmetric timescales: on (the) one hand, scientists are used to conducting thorough studies over years, while on the other, industry is simply going ahead and launching 60 new satellites every fortnight." Prof Seitzer remarked: "I think all we can do at this point is move rapidly; we just can't wait for the regulatory environment (to catch up). We need to convince SpaceX that it's in their best interest to move rapidly and solve this problem quickly and set the standard for everybody else."

Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: kassy on January 22, 2020, 06:42:29 PM
Space mission to reveal 'Truths' about climate change

The UK is going to lead a space mission to get an absolute measurement of the light reflected off Earth's surface.

The information will be used to calibrate the observations of other satellites, allowing their data to be compared more easily


Barring technical showstoppers, the ministers should then green-light the mission for a targeted launch in 2026.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: vox_mundi on January 24, 2020, 07:43:26 PM
Boeing-Built DirecTV Satellite May Explode in Orbit After Suffering Unexpected Malfunction

DirecTV fears that one of its satellites in orbit might blow up soon, and it’s gearing up to move it to safety. Due to a problem with the satellite’s batteries, the satellite might burst apart at the end of February. If it did explode while in its current orbit, there's a chance it could damage active satellites nearby, which is why the company would like to get it out of the way.

The four-ton (3,600-kilogram) satellite on the verge of bursting is Spaceway-1, a vehicle built by Boeing launched in 2005, as first reported by Space News. Spaceway-1 has been orbiting along a path known as geostationary orbit, 22,000 miles above Earth.

... Apparently, something happened to the Spaceway-1 satellite in December that caused “irreversible” thermal damage to the vehicle’s internal batteries, according to a filing DirecTV sent to the Federal Communications Commission. Because of this damage, Boeing decided that the batteries could burst when they’re in use. DirecTV has been avoiding using the batteries by relying solely on Spaceway-1’s solar panels to gather power. But soon, the satellite will enter eclipse operations — when it is within Earth’s shadow — and the batteries will have to be used.

“Use of the batteries during eclipse is unavoidable and there is no ability to isolate damaged battery cells,” DirecTV wrote in its FCC filing. “The risk of a catastrophic battery failure makes it urgent that Spaceway-1 be fully de-orbited and decommissioned prior to the February 25th start of eclipse season.”

Big ba-da boom!


ESA Space Debris Removal

ESA’s ClearSpace-1 mission, having just received funding in November, is designed to address the growing danger of space debris, which threatens the use of low Earth orbit. Thirty-four thousand pieces of space junk larger than 10 centimeters (cm) are now in orbit around Earth, along with 900,000 pieces larger than 1 cm. They stem from hundreds of space missions launched since Sputnik-1 heralded the beginning of the Space Age in 1957. Traveling at the equivalent of Mach 25, even the tiniest piece of debris can threaten, for example, the International Space Station and its inhabitants, and create more debris when it collides.

The ClearSpace-1 Active Debris Removal (ADR) mission will be carried out by a commercial consortium led by Swiss startup ClearSpace. Planned for launch in 2025, the mission will target a spent upper stage from an ESA Vega rocket orbiting at 720 kilometers above the Earth. Atmospheric drag is very low at this altitude, meaning objects remain in orbit for decades before reentry.

There, ClearSpace-1 will rendezvous with a target, which will be traveling at close to 8 kilometers per second. After making its approach, the spacecraft will employ ‘tentacles’ to reach beyond and around the object.

"It's like tentacles that embrace the object because you can capture the object before you touch it. Dynamics in space are very interesting because if you touch the object on one side, it will immediately drift away,” says Holger Krag of ESA’s Space Safety department and head of the Space Debris Office in Darmstadt, Germany.

During the first mission, once ClearSpace-1 secures its target, the satellite will use its own propulsion to reenter Earth’s atmosphere, burning up in the process and destroying the piece it embraced. In future missions, ClearSpace hopes to build spacecraft that can remove multiple pieces of debris before the satellite burns up with all the debris onboard.

Collisions involving such objects create more debris and increase the odds of future impacts. This cascade effect is known as the Kessler Syndrome for the NASA scientist who first described it. The 2009 collision of the active U.S. commercial Iridium 33 and defunct Russian military Kosmos-2251 satellites created a cloud of thousands of pieces of debris. 

With SpaceX, OneWeb, and other firms planning so-called megaconstellations of hundreds or even thousands of satellites, getting ahead of the situation is crucial to prevent low Earth orbit from becoming a graveyard. 
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: gerontocrat on January 24, 2020, 11:07:30 PM
Methane Map
- This will be very useful.... (and alarming to polluters?)
- might pick up big methane burps in the ESAS?
Canadian start-up GHGSat to make global methane map
A Canadian start-up, GHGSat, is promising to release a high-resolution map of methane in Earth's atmosphere by the year's end.

The company has one spacecraft in orbit currently to monitor the trace gas. Another two are expected to go up in the next few months.

Montreal-based GHGSat tracks oil and gas operations, alerting owners to any leaks of methane from their facilities.

The global map should make its debut at November's big UN climate conference.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and like carbon dioxide is increasing its concentration in the atmosphere. Quite why that is, though, is not fully understood.

Emissions associated with fossil-fuel use are a major factor, but there are also many natural sources of the gas that require a more complete explanation.

While GHGSat is focused on selling observations of methane, it believes it can also make a very useful contribution to open science with its planned free-to-use visualisation.

The company's first satellite, launched in 2016, delivers 12km by 12km spot measurements of methane in the air. Features larger than 50m across can be sensed.

The soon-to-fly spacecraft are designed with finer vision still, with a resolution of 25m per pixel.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: vox_mundi on January 28, 2020, 11:54:32 PM
2 Satellites Will Narrowly Avoid Colliding at 32,800 mph Over Pittsburgh On Wednesday

Two defunct satellites will zip past each other at 32,800 mph (14.7 kilometers per second) in the sky over Pittsburgh on Wednesday evening (Jan. 29). If the two satellites were to collide, the debris could endanger spacecraft around the planet.

It will be a near miss: LeoLabs, the satellite-tracking company that made the prediction, said they should pass between 50 feet and 100 feet apart (15 to 30 meters) at 6:39:35 p.m. local time.

One is called the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS). Launched in 1983, it was the first infrared space telescope and operated for less than a year, according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The other is called the Gravity Gradient Stabilization Experiment (GGSE-4), and was a U.S. Air Force experiment launched in 1967 to test spacecraft design principles, according to NASA.

It's pretty common for bits of orbital debris to have near misses in orbit, Ceperley said, which usually go untracked. It's more unusual, though, for two full-size satellites to come this close in space. IRAS in particular is the size of a truck, at 11.8 feet by 10.6 feet by 6.7 feet (3.6 by 3.2 by 2.1 m).
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: blumenkraft on February 05, 2020, 09:21:15 AM

Closed Cellular Convection, Feature Following

Link >>
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: blumenkraft on February 06, 2020, 02:38:47 PM
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: gerontocrat on February 08, 2020, 02:35:27 PM
The "progress"? to plonking an incredible number of satellites into LEO gets another boost....
Only 34 satellites per launch - pathetic.

What could possibly go wrong ? (see Blumenkraft post above).
OneWeb: London start-up launches first big batch of satellites
The UK-based OneWeb company has sent 34 satellites into orbit on a single Soyuz rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan.

The start-up is building a mega-constellation in the sky to deliver broadband internet to all corners of the globe.

Six spacecraft were lofted in 2019 to prove the technology, but this year will see big batches of platforms going up on a near monthly basis. The aim is to have the full network in operation by the end of 2021.

OneWeb is in a race with a number of other companies that want to provide the same kind of service. California entrepreneur Elon Musk is developing his Starlink constellation which envisages thousands of connected satellites. Likewise, the boss of, Jeff Bezos, the world's wealthiest individual, has proposed a system he calls Kuiper.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: ArcticMelt2 on February 08, 2020, 03:06:15 PM
SpaceX is going to launch 30 thousand satellites. This will be the actual beginning of the creation of the Dyson Swarm. Energy Starlink will be approximately 100 megawatts, which is a thousand times more than the International Space Station. In fact, this was the beginning of the creation of space solar power plants.


Perhaps we can soon stop global warming by creating dimming screens at libration points.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: blumenkraft on March 21, 2020, 09:09:07 AM
Observing Phytoplankton via Satellite

Thanks to a new algorithm, researchers at the AWI can now use satellite data to determine in which parts of the ocean certain types of phytoplankton are dominant. In addition, they can identify toxic algal blooms and assess the effects of global warming on marine plankton, allowing them to draw conclusions regarding water quality and the ramifications for the fishing industry.

Link >>
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: blumenkraft on March 21, 2020, 10:19:26 AM
Vernal Equinox 2020

An amazing image that includes vertical slices of local noon imagery on 19 March >>

(courtesy Rick Kohrs, SSEC)
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: blumenkraft on May 02, 2020, 01:40:33 PM
Whatever happened to Sentinel? Both, Playground and EO-browser are empty. :(

But Polarview has it still. Weird.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: ArcticMelt2 on July 06, 2020, 06:23:18 PM
My last post was deleted due to offtopic (?), so I answered in another thread.

Quote from: Gerontocrat
The current sensors have their limitations, but one must be grateful they exist at all. The NSIDc and JAXA instruments are well beyond their design life and as yet no announcements of compatible replacements to maintain the continuous 41 year record.

Thank you, Gerontocrat.  I understand better now.  It is sobering to think that we may be having thrill flights for the uber-rich up into space soon, and yet we might not be sending anything up there to replace the NSIDC and JAXA instruments.

You are incorrectly informed. JAXA firmly intends to launch into space a replacement AMSR2, AMSR3, around 2023.

This spring there was even news that the manufacturer of the new satellite was selected.

In the near future, we will only lose NSDIC data. They are low resolution, and now are of little value.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: Juan C. García on July 06, 2020, 07:21:25 PM
You are incorrectly informed. JAXA firmly intends to launch into space a replacement AMSR2, AMSR3, around 2023.

This spring there was even news that the manufacturer of the new satellite was selected.

In the near future, we will only lose NSDIC data. They are low resolution, and now are of little value.
Great news ArcticMelt2!
I just hope that AMSR2 will hold on for another 3 years!
And I think that NSIDC will use a new satellite too.
It is just that will have new capabilities. Not like the 40 years old satellites...
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: Juan C. García on July 06, 2020, 07:37:30 PM
And I think that NSIDC will use a new satellite too.
It is just that will have new capabilities. Not like the 40 years old satellites...

Could ICESAT-2 replace the traditional NSIDC stats?
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: ArcticMelt2 on July 06, 2020, 07:46:16 PM
Could ICESAT-2 replace the traditional NSIDC stats?

It seems IceSat2 uses lasers and does not see anything through the clouds.

It may be better for NOAA to make small satellites with radiometers that will measure the area of ice every hour, and not once a day.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: gerontocrat on July 06, 2020, 11:43:36 PM
You are incorrectly informed. JAXA firmly intends to launch into space a replacement AMSR2, AMSR3, around 2023.

In the near future, we will only lose NSDIC data. They are low resolution, and now are of little value.
"and now are of little value." Pardon? I assume you do not access the NSIDC data on the 2020 Area & Extent Data" thread. Time for me to shut up shop? Time for NSIDC to close down?
An awful lot of scientists might disagree with your view.

The problem is that you cannot properly merge new high-res data into the low-res NSIDC record without a long overlap to establish the variation between the results from the different sensors, and even then comparisons between data from NSIDC and the new datasets may be problematical. That is why no-one links the high-res data from AMSR2 to the NSIDC data record.

I asked NSIDC last September about their plans - the answer was...

"As for the satellite series, we are investigating the alternatives, but we don't have any information published yet."
It is possible the new JAXA satellite will produce 2 data streams, one lower-res for compatibility with the current JAXA long-term record, and the other higher-res to take advantage of the no doubt improved sensors on board.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: Frivolousz21 on July 07, 2020, 03:52:30 AM
The AMSR3 instrument will be able to scan the ice on the 18/36 GHz channels and those will likely be 10-12km resolution.

Iirc the long term nsidc data set is 25km grid res.

That should be a fine replacement.

Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: kassy on July 08, 2020, 10:11:26 AM
Esa and Nasa line up satellites to measure Antarctic sea-ice

US and European scientists are about to get a unique view of polar ice as their respective space agencies line up two satellites in the sky.

Authorisation was given on Tuesday for Europe's Cryosat-2 spacecraft to raise its orbit by just under one kilometre.

This will hugely increase the number of coincident observations it can make with the Americans' Icesat-2 mission.

One outcome from this new strategy will be the first ever reliable maps of Antarctic sea-ice thickness.

Currently, the floes in the far south befuddle efforts to measure their vertical dimension.

Heavy snow can pile on top of the floating ice, hiding its true thickness. Indeed, significant loading can even push Antarctic sea-ice under the water.

But researchers believe the different instruments on the two satellites working in tandem can help them tease apart this complexity.

Nasa's Icesat-2, which orbits the globe at about 500km in altitude, uses a laser to measure the distance to the Earth's surface - and hence the height of objects. This light beam reflects directly off the top of the snow.

Esa's Cryosat-2, on the other hand, at around 720km in altitude, uses radar as its height tool, and this penetrates much more deeply into the snow cover before bouncing back.

and more on:
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: kassy on August 02, 2020, 09:39:54 PM
European Sentinel satellites to map global CO2 emissions

German manufacturer OHB-System has signed a €445m (£400m) contract to begin construction of a satellite network to monitor carbon dioxide.

The CO2M constellation will consist in the first instance of two spacecraft, but there is an option for a third.

The platforms will track the greenhouse gas across the globe, helping nations assess the scale of their emissions.

Under the Paris climate accord, countries must compile CO2 inventories. CO2M will provide supporting data.

The aim is to launch the OHB spacecraft in 2025 so they can inform the international stocktake that will report in 2028.


The requirement is that CO2M track carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at a resolution of 2km by 2km across a minimum swath of 250km.

The satellites will carry a CO2 instrument, obviously, but a range of secondary sensors also to help with the signal's retrieval and to differentiate the human-produced sources of the gas from those emitted by natural processes.

Franco-Italian manufacturer Thales Alenia Space has been engaged as a key sub-contractor. Its French division will deliver a combined carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide spectrometer that operates in near- and shortwave-infrared bands.

TAS's UK arm will build a multi-angle polarimeter; and the Belgian company OIP Sensors will make a cloud imager.


The leaders of the EU's 27 member states recently agreed a downgrading of the proposed Copernicus budget in the next financial period (2021-2027) from €5.8bn to €4.8bn.

If this budget envelope is implemented, it will impact the roll-out of the expansion Sentinels.

Indeed, the fact that OHB is only being asked to build two spacecraft for the moment - and not all three - is a reflection of the current financial realities.


We should have done that 10 year sooner at least.
Title: Re: Satellite News
Post by: morganism on September 11, 2020, 08:21:24 PM
Common misconceptions about space-grade integrated circuits

What are radiation effects

The very concepts of "radiation hardness" and "radiation hardened IC" are enormous simplifications. There are many different sources of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, and they affect the functioning of microelectronic devices in multiple ways. The tolerance to different sets of conditions and varying levels of exposure for different applications is not the same, so a “radiation hardened” circuit designed for low earth orbit is absolutely not obliged to work in a robot parsing debris in Chernobyl or Fukushima.

Ionizing radiation is called so because the deceleration of an incoming particle in a substance releases the energy and ionizes the substance. Each material has its own energy required for ionization and the creation of an electron-hole pair. For silicon it is 3.6 eV, for its oxide — 17 eV, for gallium arsenide — 4.8 eV. The energy release can also “shift” an atom out of the correct place in the crystal lattice (21 eV must be transferred to shift a silicon atom). Electron-hole pairs created in a substance can produce different effects in an integrated circuit. Therefore, radiation effects can be divided into the four large groups: the effects of total ionizing dose (TID), the dose rate effects, single event effects (SEE), and the non-ionizing effects called the displacement damage. This separation is somewhat arbitrary: for example, irradiation with a stream of heavy ions causes both single event effects and accumulation of a total ionizing dose.