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British Company Launches New Dedicated Satellite For Earth Surveillance In 4K Video

by on January 15, 2018
 
Stephan Jukic – January 15, 2018

There’s a new set of digital eyes in the sky watching us move around our world and it’s doing its spying in dedicated 4K UHD video. Called CARBONITE-2, the new satellite was recently launched from the Sriharikota rocket launch center in southeast India as part of a larger payload of 31 different objects bound for orbital space aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

The creators of CARBONITE-2, a British company called Earth-I have confirmed the new surveillance platforms successful arrival in space and have called the satellite an early test version of a more robust planned dedicated constellation of satellites called Vivid-2 that will orbit the earth and deliver constant full color, full live motion video of the Earth’s surface below in solid 4K video.

The CARBONITE-2 prototype itself also of course comes with an onboard UHD camera for capturing high resolution footage and still images of locations anywhere under its orbital path. The satellite can unfortunately record only 2 minutes of 4K video at a time but this is after all only a viability test operation aimed at showing that the dedicated 4K video recording platform functions smoothly. Later on, the full group of roughly 5 dedicated 4K satellites in the Vivid-I constellation will offer more serious and robust ultra HD video recording systems.

Sample stills from Carbonite satellite

Sample stills from Carbonite satellite

According to Joseph Asbacher, director of Earth observation programmes for the European Space Agency:

“The launch of VividX2 is a significant next development of Earth-i’s constellation, and welcomed by ESA. The Vivid-i Constellation will provide capabilities we haven’t seen before including full-colour video, and an assured stream of high-quality data from space to help improve both our planet and our lives on Earth.”

This new and successful attempt has also been preceded by an even earlier prototype from Earth-I called CARBONITE-1, which remains in orbit but shoots only 1080p footage. Carbonite-1’s recordings are however quite impressive despite this, so we can only image how good the monitoring footage from CARBONITE-2 and the full Vivid-I constellation of 4K video satellites will be.

More tin-foil hat oriented readers of this might be wondering about its military and public surveillance implications. Those concerns may become valid sooner rather than later since the U.K ministry of Defense is reportedly investing £4 million (U.S. $5 million) in the wider program due to its possible reconnaissance and imagery potential but for now we can fairly safely say that this venture is aimed at commercial orbital video applications. At least for now.

Story by 4k.com
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