12 May 2013
Third Satellite in Orbit for NGC Aerospace
The PROBA-V (for vegetation) satellite, currently circling the earth 820 km over our heads, has a Sherbrooke connection: NGC Aerospace.
The satellite was launched on May 6, 2013 from the Kourou base in French Guiana and is orbiting the earth to collect information about the planet’s health, climate, and vegetation.
NGC Aerospace developed the navigation, guidance, and control algorithms that locate and orient the satellite optimally to maximize the quality of images collected by the three multispectral imaging telescopes/cameras. In other words, the computer programs designed by NGC “hold the cameras in their hands” while measurements are taken.
The intelligent software developed in collaboration with Belgium’s QinetiQ Space also makes it possible to manage satellite operations without human intervention.
With PROBA-V, the Sherbrooke firm has succeeded in creating a new generation of scientific satellites that, for the first time, incorporate autonomy and intelligence. The results are lower satellite operating costs with enhanced satellite reliability and effectiveness.
From the heights of its remote-sensing orbit, PROBA-V will more specifically collect data about surface water, development of agricultural areas, desertification and deforestation. Its estimated life expectancy is 2.5 years. The device measures barely 1 cubic metre and weighs 140 kg.
PROBA-V is the third satellite in the PROBA series on which NGC Aerospace has put its specialized expertise in automated software design to work. PROBA-1, launched in 2001, and PROBA-2, launched in 2009, are still in orbit.
Source: NGC Aerospace
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