A Primer on Satellite Imaging - Handout

Jun 27, 2022 6:00 AM

Turning Smartphones into Satellites

“By September 2013, a NASA team originally led by Boshuizen and Marshall successfully launched its first PhoneSats into low-Earth orbit at a cost of just $7,000 each. Named Alexander, Graham and Bell, the three mini-orbiters took pictures from space and beamed the data back to Earth, demonstrating for the first time that a consumer-grade smartphone could be used to power a satellite in space. Successive generations of PhoneSats, launched by NASA and housed inside of CubeSats, have since demonstrated increasingly greater capabilities.”

Sun Synchronous Orbit

“Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) is a particular kind of polar orbit. Satellites in SSO, travelling over the polar regions, are synchronous with the Sun. This means they are synchronised to always be in the same ‘fixed’ position relative to the Sun. This means that the satellite always visits the same spot at the same local time – for example, passing the city of Paris every day at noon exactly.”

Time-lapse of Stevens Creek Reservoir from 2014 to 2021

Buzzfeed journalists uncover Xinjiang Internment Camps

Figure: image of blank map tile (source Buzzfeed)