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back to article New satellite will blow your socks off - and spot them from spaaaace

A new satellite set to fly in 2014 will offer the chance to spot objects just 31 centimetres across … from SPAAAAAACE. WorldView-3 will be thrust 617 kilometres into the heavens atop an Atlas V rocket and will boast several different sensors, the better to provide images to customers including the US National Oceanic and …

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Anonymous Coward

31cm?

Is that 31cm or 30.48cm....

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Big Brother

Re: 31cm?

Not sure...but keeping my curtains closed, once this thing is launched.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: 31cm?

It's just bragging if you launch 31cm with the curtains open.

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Happy

Tinfoil hats on standby...

...surely it would just be cheaper to rebrand one of the military spy sats that have surely had this resolution since the 70's...?

<runs for cover>

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Black Helicopters

Re: Tinfoil hats on standby...

The 60's film spy satellites had a resolution of 3" or 76.2mm

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Re: Tinfoil hats on standby...

Worldview-3 project cost is about $650 million, the last launch of a KH-11 came in at a little over $4 billion dollars, which was $2 billion *under* the initial budget estimate.

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Re: Tinfoil hats on standby...

Indeed. The military is a gargantuan waste of money. We would literally be better off putting them all on the dole and still paying their salaries.

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Re: Tinfoil hats on standby...

had this resolution since the 70's...?

Thats an affirmative Houston ,foil hat also spotted and pin holed ....ROFL

Guiding missiles since 1968 ! ,accuracy 1m +- 0.38 inches.

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Unhappy

...anywhere within 24 hrs

Better hope it's not cloudy when they get there!

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FAIL

Re: ...anywhere within 24 hrs

Duh. Did you miss the bit about near infra red?

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FAIL

Re: ...anywhere within 24 hrs

Fail yourself. Near IR is not much better at seeing through clouds than VIS. Even thermal IR (not on this satellite) isn't much better. Seeing through clouds, guv? You need Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) for that.

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Happy

Right, so I will need even more RAM

I am just testing a new compute server for processing remote sensing images (64 cores 512 GB of RAM). My first runs already use up to 480 GB of that, and chug through a detailed analysis of 3.5 Gigapixel image in just over two minutes (was nearly an hour). The new images will be 2.2x larger for the same area covered.

I WANT A TERABYTE of RAM!!!

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Re: Right, so I will need even more RAM

And a raise?!

(Where's the LOL icon?)

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WTF?

Re: Right, so I will need even more RAM

FFS - get yourself a high end graphics card! 256 cores + 1TB memory (or more) + proper parallel coding using CUDA. £300 will get you the dogs-danglies in the commercial world. If you want mil-aero specification - GE-IP have them for reasonable prices.

Image processing - visible, infra-red, microwave, radar, or all combined is exactly what CUDA on these high end graphics cards was designed for.

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Boffin

Re: Right, so I will need even more RAM

"FFS - get yourself a high end graphics card! 256 cores + 1TB memory (or more) + proper parallel coding using CUDA. £300 will get you the dogs-danglies in the commercial world. If you want mil-aero specification - GE-IP have them for reasonable prices.

Image processing - visible, infra-red, microwave, radar, or all combined is exactly what CUDA on these high end graphics cards was designed for."

I assume you mean 1GB not 1TB of memory. If you can supply me a 1TB memory graphics card for £300, I am happy to give you a £300 tip :-). My images start at about 1GB, and end at 1.5 TB (for now). So they will not fit in my graphics cards (with the additional data needed during processing.

Regarding image processing and CUDA: For quite a few image processing problems you are right, in this case you are wrong. Connected filters that we use have a strictly data-driven processing order, which does not work well in CUDA. Indeed, because the outcome for every pixel depends on every other pixel (potentially), parallelization itself is hard (see the first method with can be found here (warning, pdf)). On 64 cores I am now getting about 30x speed-up. I am trying to adapt this to CUDA (or OpenCL) in collaboration with the CSIRO in Sydney, Australia, but we have not got it running yet.

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Anonymous Coward

80's Tech

Pah! The <censored> could see what was on your barbeque and what newspaper you were reading in the 80's. Imaging tech is deliberately kept secret.

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Re: 80's Tech

I worked on some <censored> technology in the early '90s and the <censored> still struggled to distinguish between a <censored> and a transit van.

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me corrected!

After looking at the linked gallery, I thought "I've seen higher res images in Google Earth!" ( I've seen vehicles in Google's parking lot and could see if one had a newspaper left on the dashboard).

But a quick search tells me that Google Earth uses aerial photography in places.

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Units

" it is possible to spot objects just 31cm long, almost exactly the length of your correspondent's size 13 flip flops, from space."

Oooo - not one to pass up a good co-incidence when it comes by, might it be a candidate for a Reg unit of satellite resolution, the Flip Flop (ff) ?... e.g.

"That's nothing, the 1960's spy satellites had a resolution of 0.1 ff"

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Re: Units

You could also cause confusion by using the Aussie word for flipflops.

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Joke

Re: Units

Calling the unit the "Thong" will have a definate fnar fnar moment when the satellites are able to resolve the type of underware a lady is wearing!

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Wow!

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FAIL

Metric to imperial

I wonder if the resolution is actually 1ft. For that matter it looks like marketing have done a few 'conversions' on the linked website.... 1.24m aka 4ft and 3.7m aka 12ft.

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On Google earth I can see a 12" wide ladder on next door's roof. Iknow it's aerial rather than from space, but the old standard was 'we can see a dinner plate from space.'

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Military use ?

Wasn't there a suggestion a while ago to try and use successive hi-res overhead pictures to try and spot areas of disturbed ground in Afghanistan, which might indicate a recently laid IED ?

Since such devices are mainly roadside based, with a bit of processing, this sat could snap targetted areas (roads) today, do the same tomorrow, and look for tell tale signs ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Military use ?

A good idea but I'm sure the Taliban will soon cotton on and employ hundreds of kids to dig a small hole and bury a small rock every few feet along a road.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Military use ?

I think the idea was to use images from aircraft (blimps or long endurance drones); you couldn't use a satellite image as it covers too small an areas (like looking at your desk through a drinking straw).

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missing detail

Hang on, the first paragraph says that the satellite will be able "to spot objects just 31 centimetres across" ,

But the last paragraph indicates that the 'resolution' will be 31 cm.

Which is it? Those are not the same thing. If it has a 31 cm resolution, you will be able to spot objects rather smaller, although they won't resolve into clearly seperated objects. If you can (only) spot objects just 31 centimaters across, the resolution must be rather worse than 31 cm.

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Coat

"the length of your correspondent's size 13 flip flops"

So will we finally be able to spot Bigfoot?

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Paris Hilton

31cm!!

So now they will be able to see my wang from space!

Best not wander round in the nip anymore then.

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Thumb Down

Re: 31cm!!

31cm NOT 3.1cm

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Angel

Re: 31cm!!

No no no, I am talking about my Wang 1200 word processor, not my Wang LOCI-2 calculator you silly Billy!

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Trollface

Re: 31cm!!

Yeah. And mine's 31 cm but I don't use it as a rule.

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Anonymous Coward

I thought the US military had agreements with all the major satellite operators that they wouldn't sell imagery below 50cm to civilians..... so news of new, even higher resolution satellites is only really of interest in government circles.

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Or it could be like what happened with encryption embargoes. The military realized that international firms offered similar services, rendering the embargo unenforceable, and the military relaxes the restriction.

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Facepalm

Dumbing down

>A new satellite set to fly in 2014 will offer the chance to spot objects just 31 centimetres across … from SPAAAAAACE

It'd be a damn clever satellite if it could spot objects from elsewhere.

And just in case we are in doubt about where it's taking these images from

>A little sharpening of the images will mean it is possible to spot objects just 31cm long, almost exactly the length of your correspondent's size 13 flip flops, from space.

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Anonymous Coward

Bah

Still no good for finding where I left my keys!

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Headmaster

Ho Ho Ho

It knows when you are sleeping. It knows when you're awake. I knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for Big Brother's sake!

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Anonymous Coward

ridley's idiot brother

its been years since enemy of the state and we seem to have gone backward.

You could zoom into a car numberplate friom space in 1998 with a dramatic whoosing noise from somewhere. Now it just looks like its one pixel per foot in 2012

so much for so called progress

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