Earth Observation & Science

Earth Observation Constellations

Small satellite constellations are financially viable, enable rapid revisit imaging and provide flexibility for replenishing space assets for data continuity.  

The Disaster Monitoring Constellation

SSTL conceived the innovative and unique Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC), the first Earth observation constellation of low cost small satellites providing daily images for applications including global disaster monitoring.

The Disaster Monitoring Constellation is coordinated by DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii)  for both commercial imaging programmes and to provide free satellite imagery for humanitarian use in the event of major international disasters within the International Charter: Space & Major Disasters (  The DMC is represented by the UK Space Agency on the Charter board and DMCii in the executive secretariat. The national civil protection authorities of Algeria, China, Nigeria, Turkey and UK are direct authorised users of the Charter.

Disaster Monitoring Constellation operational satellites


Disaster Monitoring Constellation retired satellites


DMC3 Constellation

SSTL is currently manufacturing three SSTL-300S1 satellite platforms for DMCii.  The three satellites are due for launch in 2014 and will form a new constellation, DMC3, with daily revisit times which is crucial for change detection, disaster monitoring and response planning, and essential for acquiring cloud-free imagery.  Beijing-based company, 21AT, will lease 100% of the imaging capacity of the three satellites.


DMC3 Constellation


RapidEye Constellation

5 RapidEye platforms in SSTL's cleanroom

SSTL has also supplied the platforms for the 5-satellite RapidEye constellation which launched in 2008. RapidEye is a commercial small satellite mission developed by MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates (MDA). This unique system enables unprecedented global monitoring of the Earth’s surface. The mission provides rapid delivery of land information products and services to the agricultural industry for crop monitoring and mapping, yield predictions and natural disaster assessment.

The constellation provides:

  • Daily revisit
  • Multispectral imagery
  • 6.5m GSD resolution

Visit the RapidEye AG website to find out more about the constellation.


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