Small, but perfectly formed – Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation
23 April 2007
International experts discuss the use of small satellites at a symposium in Berlin
Small satellite in orbit
The International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) is holding the 6th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation from 23 to 26 April 2007 in Berlin. The conference is organised and sponsored by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), which is also hosting the event.
Some 150 experts and engineers from 24 countries will present and discuss both proven and new uses for small satellites. The individual workgroups will also discuss the development of integrated applications for aeronautics. This involves combining the data collated from Earth’s orbit with that taken on the ground, to produce a synergistic effect in the overall evaluation of the data. For the third time, there will also be a student conference which will entail in-depth presentations and discussions.
For many years, the IAA symposium has served as a successful forum where experts, engineers and managers can exchange information. The forums provide an arena not only for voicing ideas and problems about small satellites but also for raising technological and management aspects.
Technology in Earth orbit - small satellite BIRD detects forest fires
DLR employee tests the BIRD satellite
A concrete example of the uses of small satellites is that of BIRD (Bispectral Infra-Red Detection), a small satellite launched in October 2001, and developed and built by DLR. This small satellite demonstrated for the first time that we can detect the full extent of forest fires and the resulting flame temperatures from orbit. The scientific objective of this project also embraces the accurate observation of volcano activity as well as cloud and vegetation analyses.
Furthermore, the launch of the first satellite from the RapidEye fleet is scheduled for 2007. A public-private partnership, this project aims to provide an observational study of the Earth. There are ongoing plans to put Tetrahedral Explorer Technologies (TET) into orbit. Similar to a small satellite, this platform will test hardware in the space environment. The project will be co-led by DLR and the Astro- und Feinwerktechnik Adlershof company in Berlin-Adlershof.