Monitoring satellites typically can only observe a small portion of the planet due to the low orbit altitudes at which they fly. The GO-3S satellite is intended to fly some 60 times higher than current monitoring satellites, giving it the ability to observe several continents at once. Sitting in geostationary orbit at 36,000 km, GO-3S will be able to continuously observe continents and pick out details on the ground just a few meters across. It is suited to monitoring rapidly changing phenomena over thousands of square kilometers. Potential uses for GO-3S include tracking ships in port or vehicles near a border, and monitoring vegetation growth.
EADS Astrium, the company behind plans for GO-3S, say that the optical quality of the mirror for GO-3S’s telescope will need to be 100 times greater than that for the space telescope Herschel. The company estimates that the satellite could launch in 2020.
July 13, 2012 11:43 AM PDT
Photo by: Nick Heath/TechRepublic
| Caption by: Nick Heath
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