10 things you did not know about PAZ, the Spanish spy satellite that you can hire

After several delays, the last due to strong winds, the SpaceX company will make its sixth attempt to put the Spanish technology into orbit.

The PAZ satellite weighs 1400 kg, is 5 m high and 2.4 m in diameter.

Its high-resolution radar will monitor the surface of the Earth day and night, and in all kinds of weather conditions, offering images with a multitude of civil and military applications. At the moment its main client is the Ministry of Defense, but its services will be available to government and private clients.

When and who is going to launch the satellite?

The launch will take place on a rocket Falcon 9 from SpaceX, the same company that this month has sent a convertible Tesla into space. This company has delayed takeoff several times (January 30 and then February 10, 17, 18 and 21) due to technical problems and last minute revisions.

The last postponement was due to strong winds in high areas. As announced by Space X in your account Twitter, the new launch date is February 22, at 3:17 p.m. (peninsular time).

Where will it take off from?

From the military air base of Vandenbergon California (USA). This location provides, among other advantages, access to polar and high-inclination orbits, and is frequently used by constellations of communication, Earth observation and defense-intelligence satellites, as well as for some lunar missions.

What will this satellite be used for?

To cover both the needs of security and defense like others of civilian character. Specifically, it allows the observation of the territory for multiple applications: intelligencesupport for deployment of troops abroadmilitary operations, maritime surveillanceManagement emergenciescontrol frontieranalysis environmentalprotection of natural resources, verification of international dealssurveillance of the earth’s surface, town planninginfrastructure planning, natural disaster assessment and mapping high resolution

What are its technical characteristics?

It weighs 1,400 kg, is 5 m high and 2.4 m in diameter. Its star instrument is an advanced synthetic aperture radar (SAR), developed in a very flexible way, with the ability to operate in a multitude of configurations that allow you to choose the features of the images. To store them you have a memory of 256 GB and a transmission capacity of 300 Mbit/s in X band.

PEACE will cover an area of ​​more than 300,000 kmtwo up to date and be prepared to give fifteen daily returns to the EarthAt a height of 514 kilometers and with a speed of 7 km/s. Given its slightly tilted quasipolar orbit, PAZ will cover the entire globe with a mean review time of 24 hours.

What resolution will your images have?

Its electronic radar, configurable from the ground, can work in different ways combining resolution and image size. It offers five different modes: spot light (with up to 1 meter resolution and covering 5×5 km areas), strip map (up to 3 meters and areas of 30×50 km), scan (for areas of 100×150 km and resolutions of 18.5 meters), staring spotlight (very high resolution, up to 25 cm) and wide swath scanner (which allows to cover areas of 270 × 200 km).

The radar sensor is capable of capturing images of the Earth’s surface both during the day and at night and without being affected by the weather, that is, its availability of images is global and unrestricted. Its radar takes pictures of the Earth with a resolution of up to 25 cmboth day and night and in all kinds of weather conditions.

Who will be your customers?

At the moment the main client is the Ministry of Defence Spanish. The images will be managed by the Center for Aerospace Observing Systems (CESAEROB), which depends on the General Air Command and the Chief of Defense Staffin connection with the ground segment managed by the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA).

In any case, the PEACE mission is dual character, which means it’s not just for Defense. In fact, part of its operational capacity will be available to market services to the rest of the central, regional and local administrations of Spain, as well as to all types of government and private users from any country.

In addition, this satellite will improve the positioning of our country within the European program Copernicus for global monitoring of environment and security, the main initiative in the field of Earth observation led by the European Union and the European Space Agency (THIS). It will also be part of a constellation of satellites Airbusbeside TerrSAR-X and TANDEM-X.

Who is the owner and manufacturer of PAZ?

The company Hisdesat is the owner, operator and operator of the satellite. Its design and manufacture was contracted to the company Airbus Defense & Space Spain (before EADS Astrium House), which has had the collaboration of a consortium of 15 national companies and three universities, involved in the manufacture of different parts and components.

For the first time in our country, the challenge of building a satellite of this size and complexity has been taken on. Once manufactured, it was transported from the air base of Torrejon (Madrid) on an Antonov plane to California, where he arrived on December 28, 2017.

How will the images be marketed?

A geoportal has been createdUser Service Provision (USP), which will be active with the entry into operation of the satellite. It is the basic tool for marketing any of the products that Hisdesat will offer when PAZ is available.

based on a concept on-linewill provide customers with a web tool that guides them when making requestsknow the status of your orders or collect the finished products.

Does it incorporate more operational novelties?

As a secondary payload, the PAZ satellite will carry a receiver (called AIS) for automatic vessel identificationwhich, together with radar data, will allow the best possible monitoring of the maritime environment around the world.

The processors have been developed in collaboration with the department of Signal Theory and Communications of the Higher Polytechnic School of the University of Alcalá de Henares. For their part, Hisdesat and INDRA have also developed an advanced processor to detect ‘anomalies’ or movements of ships at sea.

Will there be any scientific experiments?

PAZ collaborates in an innovative scientific experience in which the concealment of radiofrequency signals in their two polarizations will be measured for the first time. These records will allow you to see how GPS signals are hidden as they pass through the atmosphere and analyze changes in the signal due to atmospheric elements, especially extreme precipitation.

In this way, properties of the atmosphere can be known and predictions of rains and floods can be improved, which will help to take the necessary measures to avoid possible associated disasters. This ‘radiation and extreme precipitation’ project is led by the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE) of the CSIC and has the collaboration of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States.

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