China Provides Real-Time Access To Satellite Images And Videos Previously Reserved For Elites To The Rest Of The World.
Have you ever wanted to look at live locations or street views of areas as clear as a high quality image? Well, China is offering such a service, available to every smartphone user.
China will be launching the Luojia-3 satellite and may test a new technology that could provide smartphone users with instant access to high-definition cameras in space.
Luojia-3-01 is an Earth Observation satellite* to be launched in July 2022, with a powerful telescope that can take photos or videos with a resolution of 0.7 meters, making it possible to even identify the make of a car from a distance of 500 kilometres.
According to the project team, the satellite also has a high-speed data transmission capability that rivals some communications satellites and will be able to provide positioning services like those of GPS and BeiDou.
Chief designer of the Luojia-3 01 satellite program and also professor of remote sensing engineering at Wuhan University said that this technology could provide a live stream of an area or event from orbit to a mobile device on the other side of the planet with no more than a 10 minute delay.
According to the South China Morning Post, this type of service is only available in the war rooms of the most powerful nations. But he said, “We will open the service to users around the world.”
Earth observation satellites commonly need to compress the data after taking a photo and store it on a hard drive. Then it is downloaded by a ground station when the satellite passes over it. The downloaded data is decompressed, analysed, processed and turned into user-friendly pictures by powerful computers and trained technicians. This can take hours or days.
The Luojia-3-01 can do most of the data processing and analysis by itself, with regard to a powerful “brain” that uses modern artificial intelligence technology, as stated by the project team.
Instead of waiting to pass over a ground station to transmit data to a nearby Chinese communications satellite, Luojia-3 01 will use Ka band* to transmit data to a nearby Chinese communications satellite.
The band is also used by Space X’s Starlink satellites for high-speed communication.
Scientists say that one of the project’s main purposes is to look into potential civilian applications, such as journalists using an app linked to the satellite to monitor a conflict zone or a natural catastrophe, or a driver using the technology to find a parking spot.
Wang said that, initially, the purpose was to make the service available to scientists so that they could test out scenarios for such an application.
China celebrated this New Year with a live stream from the new Tianhe space station module’s cameras.
There has not yet been a date revealed for the service to be available to the general public.
Que-1. What’s Ka Band?
Ans: The Ka band is that portion of the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum which are defined as frequencies ranging from 26.5–40 gigahertz (GHz), i.e., wavelengths from slightly over one centimetre down to 7.5 millimeters.
Ques-2. What’s an earth observation satellite?
Ans: An Earth observation satellite or Earth remote sensing satellite is a satellite used for Earth observation (EO) from orbit, including spy satellites and similar ones intended for non-military uses such as environmental monitoring, meteorology, cartography, and many others.