The first artificial satellites launched into space were quite small but, over the years, larger and larger multi-purpose remote sensing satellites were launched. However, it came to be realised that there are several disadvantages of these large, expensive all-singing, all-dancing satellite missions; they take too long to plan, too long to construct and integrate, while too many compromises have to be made between different objectives and different instruments, and a failure of the whole system means the deaths of many different projects.
There have been many recent technological advances involving developments in computing systems, the miniaturisation of components, as well as opportunities for easier and cheaper launching facilities, the future seems to lie more with small satellites, each of which is dedicated to a particular mission objective and carries a single Earth-observing instrument. Small satellites can be planned, built and launched much more quickly than large multi-mission satellites. And if a satellite fails the loss is much less catastrophic. More and more countries around the world are becoming involved in Earth observation from space, not just as users of data provided by the major players (USA, Russia, EAS, etc.) but in constructing, launching and controlling their own small satellites.
Earth Observation Small Satellites for Remote Sensing Applications reviews the history of small satellites for Earth observation, the key technologies of present systems, launch facilities and it will assess the future potential of small satellites for Earth observation applications. Topics covered include:
The book will appeal to advanced students, academics and research workers involved in the development of small satellite programmes and in using the data from small satellites for remote sensing applications related to the air, weather, climate, land and sea.