Two new British satellites have been successfully launched into low earth orbit to demonstrate the latest technology for monitoring both land and sea. On board the same rocket, the NovaSAR-1 radar satellite and the S1-4 high-definition optical satellite, both developed and manufactured by a firm based in Surrey, blasted off from a space centre in India. Backed by a £21m government investment, the NovaSAR-1 can take images day or night, even through thick clouds.
This means it can monitor illegal logging in high, cloud-covered tropical rainforests, such as the Amazon. It is also capable of tracking floods and oil spills at sea. Perhaps best of all, its designers believe it could excel at monitoring shipping to help law enforcement agencies catch smugglers. Luis Gomes, chief technology officer of Surrey Satellite Technology, which developed the satellites, told Sky News: “It takes advantage of the technology that is mandatory on large vessels to continuously broadcast their position, who they are and where they are going.