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Small satellite remote sensing and applications - history, current and future

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The small satellite renaissance began in the 1980s and is changing the economics of space. Technological trends have supported the advancement of small satellites in the 1-500 kg range. The number of countries actively participating has grown substantially during the past years. Satellite constellations (groups of satellites working in concert) are emerging as a powerful and effective application. In this paper, we focus on the small satellites than can perform remote sensing or Earth observation tasks. An overview is presented of the small satellite literature on Earth observation. The aim of the survey is threefold: an introduction for those new to the field, an overview for those working in the field and a reference for those searching for literature on a specific application for Earth observation. Small satellite programmes are classified according to the geographic regions. The small satellite industry and small satellite systems are addressed. In terms of applications, small satellite constellations are discussed in more detail. Finally, future developments are put forward. Telegeoprocessing combined with grid computing will provide the infrastructure and technologies for the development of Processing on Demand for Small Satellite Constellation systems.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Centre for Atmosphere Watch and Services, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China,Department of CCTM, London Metropolitan University, London N7 8DB, UK 2: Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China,Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China 3: Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Centre for Atmosphere Watch and Services, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China 4: Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Centre for Atmosphere Watch and Services, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China,Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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