Astrium's Hi-Res GEO Satellite A Monster at 9,000 kg


European space giant Astrium shared new details of its high-res GEO optical imaging satellite concept. Known as the Geostationary Observation Space Surveillance System (GO-3S), the spacecraft would provide 3-meter resolution over a 100-sqkm swath at 36,000 km above the globe. 

Delivering 3.5 kw of electricity to its payload, GO-3S would provide near-real time imagery comparable to video, a capability that could best unmanned air systems when it comes to delivering high temporal resolution data for environmental monitoring.

Unfortunately, says Astrium's Gil Denis, GO-3S weighs 8,840 kg (4,900 kg dry mass) and stands 10.3 meters high in its launch configuration with a 4.1-meter diameter telescope.

“The type of resolution we have today is around three meters, so we are still a little below what will be needed for military applications," Denis said during the 63rd International Astronautical Conference in Naples, Italy. 

Although the Astrium-funded project calls for considerable technology development over a 10-year period, Denis says the GO-3S would rely on technical expertise gained from the company's work on large science missions, including the Herschel Space Observatory launched for ESA in 2009. The 3,400-kg spacecraft, designed to study the evolution of galaxies in the early universe, stands 7.5 meters high with a 3.5-m diameter mirror.

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