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Capella Space Schedules Launch of First US SAR Satellite

By Juliet Van Wagenen | November 17, 2016

      The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) satellite. Photo: NASA JPL

      [Via Satellite 11-17-2016] Capella Space has purchased a launch spot and is scheduled to put its U.S. commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite in space a year from now, in late 2017. The company has received funding from Data Collective VC and Canaan Partners, which have previously backed companies such as Planet and Terra Bella.

      The first commercial SAR satellite was launched in 2007 by Germany, and since then, three countries have put up commercial SAR satellites: Germany, Italy, and Canada. Previously, SAR was mostly used for military applications. Capella’s satellite will be the first U.S. SAR satellite in orbit.

      SAR images are independent of weather and light condition, meaning the technology can penetrate through clouds or produce images at night that are just as high-quality as daytime images something hugely important in the world of satellite imagery, according to Capella

      In the short term, the company is trying to establish a lead over the competition, secure contracts, and make technical preparations for our launch. One year from now, Capella is slated to launch its first satellite.

      Further out, the company plans to expand its presence out from one satellite to a constellation of SAR satellites with the aim of having enough satellites in orbit to see anywhere on Earth, any given hour. Using that information, Capella is looking to build an archive of images and understand all kinds of image-rich changes on a macro and micro level something that has humanitarian, disaster relief, city planning, and oil and gas applications, just to name a few.