Press Release

SSTL releases first full colour videos from CARBONITE-2

SSTL releases first full colour videos from CARBONITE-2

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has today released a set of videos taken from orbit by CARBONITE-2, a technology demonstration satellite launched into a 505km low Earth orbit on 12 January 2018. The videos have been released to mark the end of spacecraft commissioning, and the start of the imagery demonstration phase of the mission.  SSTL is supplying image and video data from CARBONITE-2 to Earth-i, a global satellite operator and Earth Observation insights and analytics company, headquartered in the UK, and to the Royal Air Force to expand further their growing Air and Space capabilities. 

The video clips released today can be viewed at and show the movement of cars, trucks, boats and planes in different locations around the globe: Dubai Airport, Buenos Aires, Puerto Antofagasta, Rio de Janeiro, Diego Garcia and Mumbai Airport.

In addition to the video clips, three still images of Dubai Airport, Mumbai Airport and Puerto Antofagasta have been released which can be downloaded/viewed at

Andrew Cawthorne, Director of Earth Observation at SSTL, said “We are extremely pleased with the quality and the quantity of the video we are downloading from CARBONITE-2. We have captured more than 450 videos since launch and are now achieving a consistency in the target, acquisition and processing of videos that has surpassed our expectations. The project team has done a great job during the commissioning of an almost entirely new system design, due to the major upgrades from CARBONITE-1 and the project has demonstrated great team ethos, including working with our partners.  We now look forward to entering the operational demonstration phase of the mission.”

SSTL is working closely with Earth-i on the design of production versions of the satellite as part of the latter’s development of the Vivid-i Constellation, the first constellation in the world to commercialise full colour video from space.

Richard Blain, CEO of Earth-i, said: “Capturing silky smooth video from 505km up in space from a high definition camera travelling at over 25,000 km per hour, carries with it a unique and wide-ranging set of technical challenges, so the videos from this satellite represent a major breakthrough for our industry and shows what is now possible. In November last year we contracted SSTL to supply 5 Earth observation satellites for our Vivid-i Constellation, due for launch in 2019 and with contracts also in place for a network of ground stations for data downlink, Earth-i will be able to task its spacecraft within minutes of client requests and deliver images or video to customers very soon after they are collected by the satellites.”

Earlier this year, the RAF announced that imagery and video from CARBONITE-2 will be used by the Joint Force Command National Centre for Geospatial Intelligence as an operational concept demonstration of how data from low cost small satellites can augment and enhance intelligence products used for strategic decision making, and to support operations and training by the Armed Forces. 

AVM Rocky Rochelle, Chief of Staff (Capability) for the Royal Air Force said “I’m delighted to see how CARBONITE-2 has progressed through commissioning; the images and video captures have been of high quality and will be of great utility to Defence.  We are excited to see what this capability demonstrator will teach us about how we can use small satellites, as a single platform and as a future constellation.  In this, the RAFs 100th year, the step-up in technology development and application for the RAF is even more significant; this is a key milestone in our space journey.”

CARBONITE-2 is designed to validate technologies for low cost, full-colour video-from-orbit constellations.  A constellation of video-from-orbit satellites can provide near real-time video clips of target locations for a range of change detection projects, disaster response planning and infrastructure monitoring.  The satellite has a mass of 100kg and is being operated from SSTL’s Spacecraft Operations Centre in Guildford. 


Notes to editor:

View collection of videos at

View individual videos on YouTube:

Dubai Airport:

Coastal area of Puerto Antofagasta in Chile:

Buenos Aires:

Diego Garcia:

Rio de Janeiro:

Mumbai Airport:

Still images of Mumbai Airport, Dubai Airport and Puerto Antofagasta are available to view/download at  Credit SSTL.

Image 1: Dubai Airport, acquired by CARBONITE-2 2018. Credit SSTL.

Image 2: Artist’s impression of CARBONITE-2 in orbit. Credit SSTL/Emily Kelly

Image 3: CARBONITE-2. Credit SSTL/Beaucroft Photography

Press Contact:

Joelle Sykes, PR Manager, SSTL

Tel: +44 (0)1483 804243

Mob: 07775 000853



About SSTL

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) is the world's leading small satellite company, delivering operational space missions for a range of applications including Earth observation, science, communications, navigation, in-orbit servicing and beyond Earth infrastructure. The Company designs, manufactures and operates high performance satellites and ground systems for a fraction of the price normally associated with space missions, with 500 staff working on turnkey satellite platforms, space-proven satellite subsystems and optical instruments.

Since 1981, SSTL has built and launched more than 50 satellites for 20 international customers – as well as providing training and development programmes, consultancy services, and mission studies for ESA, NASA, international governments and commercial customers, with an innovative approach that is changing the economics of space.

Headquartered in Guildford, UK, SSTL is part of Airbus.

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Dubai Airport, acquired by CARBONITE-2 2018. Credit SSTL

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Artist's impression of CARBONITE-2 in orbit. Credit SSTL/Emily Kelly

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CARBONITE-2. Credit SSTL/Beaucroft Photography

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