17 Sep, 2017
Observing the Ozone Hole from Space: A Science Success Story
Using our unique ability to view Earth from space, we are working together with NOAA to monitor an emerging success story – the shrinking ozone hole over Antarctica.
Thirty years ago, the nations of the world agreed to the landmark ‘Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.’ The Protocol limited the release of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into the atmosphere.
Since the 1960s our scientists have worked with NOAA researchers to study the ozone layer.
We use a combination of satellite, aircraft and balloon measurements of the atmosphere.
The ozone layer acts like a sunscreen for Earth, blocking harmful ultraviolet, or UV, rays emitted by the Sun.
In 1985, scientists first reported a hole forming in the ozone layer over Antarctica. It formed over Antarctica because the Earth’s atmospheric circulation traps air over Antarctica. This air contains chlorine released from the CFCs and thus it rapidly depletes the ozone.
Because colder temperatures speed up the process of CFCs breaking up and releasing chlorine more quickly, the ozone hole fluctuates with temperature. The hole shrinks during the warmer summer months and grows larger during the southern winter. In September 2006, the ozone hole reached a record large extent.
But things have been improving in the 30 years since the Montreal Protocol. Thanks to the agreement, the concentration of CFCs in the atmosphere has been decreasing, and the ozone hole maximum has been smaller since 2006’s record.
That being said, the ozone hole still exists and fluctuates depending on temperature because CFCs have very long lifetimes. So, they still exist in our atmosphere and continue to deplete the ozone layer.
To get a view of what the ozone hole would have looked like if the world had not come to the agreement to limit CFCs, our scientists developed computer models. These show that by 2065, much of Earth would have had almost no ozone layer at all.
Luckily, the Montreal Protocol exists, and we’ve managed to save our protective ozone layer. Looking into the future, our scientists project that by 2065, the ozone hole will have returned to the same size it was thirty years ago.
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16 Sep, 2017
Entering the atmosphere of Saturn. Cassini–HuygensOctober 15,…
Entering the atmosphere of Saturn.
October 15, 1997 – September 15, 2017
Source: Just Space
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15 Sep, 2017
BlackSky taps Thales Alenia to build constellation of 60 fast-revisit EO satellites
PARIS — Seattle-based BlackSky has announced a joint venture with Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio to build and operate a constellation of 60 fast-revisit, high-resolution Earth-observation satellites and establish a new smallsat manufacturing facility in the United States.
BlackSky CEO and founder Jason Andrews announced the partnership Sept. 15 during the closing day of Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business Week here.
“We started this vision in 2013 and today we are announcing a strategic partnership with Thales Alenia Space and some financing that will get the critical mass going,” said Andrews.
“There is also a partnership with Telespazio to help distribute our analytics products and services internationally but with a focus on Europe,” he said.
BlackSky, part of Spaceflight Industries, is developing an artificial-intelligence analytics platform that would combine data from its upcoming constellation with streams coming from satellites of other operators to provide what they describe as real-time monitoring of the Earth. Andrews said the platform would draw information from social media and global news feeds to determine areas of interest and promptly respond to the anticipated demand for imagery.
“Our business model is slightly different than everybody up here,” Andrews said, referring to competitors already busy imaging the Earth from space. “We see them all as data suppliers to our platform. It’s really about integrating all those data sources to create a holistic picture of what’s going on and provide that service to our customers.”
For Telespazio of Italy, the partnership is a move towards becoming a bigger player in small satellite manufacturing.
“This partnership reflects the ‘new space’ transformation strategy being implemented by Thales Alenia Space, with the ultimate aim of becoming a major manufacturer of small observation satellite constellations featuring short revisit times, both in Europe and the United States,” Jean-Loïc Galle, president and chief executive officer of Thales Alenia Space, said in a press release.
BlackSky said the constellation’s aim is to enable hourly revisits of areas covering 95 percent of the Earth’s population.
A BlackSky spokesperson said the revisit time initially would be closer to 90 minutes.
The company launched its prototype spacecraft Pathfinder 1 last September. The craft can image an area of approximately 4.4 kilometers by 6.6 kilometers at 1-meter resolution.
BlackSky’s spokesperson said four satellites, dubbed Globals, that are set to form the backbone of the constellation, would be launched next year. The rest of the satellites will be manufactured as part of the joint venture. The company doesn’t have a fixed timeframe for the deployment of the full constellation, nor did it say when production would start.
In 2016, BlackSky acquired software and data analytics company OpenWhere. OpenWhere’s technology is a basis for BlackSky’s geospatial intelligence platform.
Source: Space News
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