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SSTL's very high resolution satellite NigeriaSat-2 prepares for launch
by Staff Writers
Guildford, UK (SPX) Aug 18, 2011

NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X will add new, higher resolution imaging capability to the Disaster Monitoring Constellation, a fleet of separately owned small satellites, coordinated by DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii) for daily global monitoring.

The latest Earth observation satellite from UK small satellite manufacturer SSTL has successfully completed pre-launch tests and has been integrated with a Dnepr launch vehicle. NigeriaSat-2, one of the most advanced Earth observation small satellites ever to be launched, will lift-off from Yasny in southern Russia on 17 August, together with NigeriaSat-X, which was built under a training and development programme.

Designed and assembled at SSTL in Guildford, the satellites will provide the Nigeria's National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) with very high resolution imaging capability. The highly agile NigeriaSat-2 is based on the latest SSTL 300 platform and will deliver multiple viewing modes to a maximum 2.5 m panchromatic (black and white) ground sample distance (GSD) and 5 m multispectral (colour) GSD across a 20 km swath width.

A second 32 m GSD, 300 km swath width multispectral imager will provide data continuity with Nigeria's previous SSTL-built satellite, NigeriaSat-1, launched in 2003 and still operational.

NigeriaSat-2's very high resolution imagery gives the ability to pinpoint individual buildings, roads or fields of interest from space and will be used to provide data for urban planning, important to Nigeria's rapidly-expanding cities. NASRDA plans to use the satellite to map the entire country in detail every four months as well as to enhance food security for Nigeria, Africa's most populated country, through monthly crop monitoring.

NigeriaSat-X was constructed through an SSTL training and development programme at SSTL in Guildford. In total, 26 Nigerian engineers participated in the project, working on the satellite for 18 months throughout the design and test phases. The satellite offers 22 m multi-spectral GSD across a 600 km swath width.

"NigeriaSat-2 is defining new standards in Earth observation and avionics, providing a highly capable and flexible multi-mode operation" said Dr Matt Perkins, CEO of SSTL. "SSTL provides unique training and development programmes. Teaming up with Nigerian engineers in this latest programme will ensure that NARSDA ground controllers are able to oversee both of these advanced technology satellites and make full use of the image data."

NigeriaSat-2 and NigeriaSat-X will add new, higher resolution imaging capability to the Disaster Monitoring Constellation, a fleet of separately owned small satellites, coordinated by DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii) for daily global monitoring.

The SSTL 300 platform provides high agility with the capability to roll up to 45 degrees off-centre, possessing extremely accurate geolocation performance using a combination of onboard GPS receivers, star trackers and compact MEMS gyros adapted from terrestrial automobile control systems.

NigeriaSat-2's innate agility enables a variety of viewing modes, including stereo imaging, artificial image widening and fast response, with the ability to image any spot on the Earth within two days.

Built for a 7 year operational lifetime, NigeriaSat-2's very high resolution imagery will see it acquiring and downlinking 20 times more data per day than its NigeriaSat-1 predecessor, providing large quantities of data for sale on the commercial market.

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