The British Royal Air Force (RAF) has successfully launched the Carbonite-2 demonstrator satellite from Sriharikota in India.
For the first time, the 100kg Carbonite-2 spacecraft has supplied imagery and footage following completion of initial checks.
USAF chief of air staff Sir Stephen Hillier said: “This satellite will not only expand further the RAF’s growing air and space capabilities, it will, I hope, also be an inspiration to those young people looking towards technology as a way to realise their potential.”
The RAF has collaborated with the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) chief scientific advisor, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, and the UK industry to work jointly on the programme to ensure the delivery of high-quality imagery and 3D video footage from space.
The programme also focuses on enabling high-tech satellites to deliver video directly into the cockpit of the fighter aircraft.
This will help enhance situational awareness of the RAF pilots who are expected to receive the best imagery and data anywhere on Earth in real-time.
UK Defence Procurement Minister Guto Bebb said: “The success of this satellite shows we are looking far beyond the skies when it comes to defending our country.
“We live in an increasingly dangerous world and satellite technology like this give our armed forces the extra advantage of quick video surveillance to keep us safe from a range of future threats, whether that’s an airborne terror attack or a troop of tanks closing in on a foreign border.”
Eight months ago, the UK MoD invested £4.5m into the Carbonite-2 programme with Surrey Satellite Technology in Guildford, the company that has developed the technology behind the satellite.
The satellite carries a custom-built off-the-shelf telescope and HD video camera. The imaging system of the spacecraft has the ability to generate high-resolution images and colour HD video clips with a swath width of 5km.