GUILDFORD, England, 16 Aug. 2009. An imaging microsatellite with advanced satellite electronics built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) in Guildford, England, is transmitting detailed satellite images of California wildfires in the Los Padres National Forest east of Santa Maria just 16 days after launch of the image satellite into the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) on 29 July.
The SSTL disaster monitoring satellite UK-DMC 2 has new satellite imagery sensors that detect twice the number of pixels per square mile to give a pixel size of 22 meters compared to 32 meters in earlier microsatellites, SSTL officials say.
The UK-DMC 2 is one of two enhanced DMC (Disaster Monitoring Constellation) Earth observation microsatellites capable of imaging several thousand miles along track and delivering double the data density of the 1st generation DMC satellites, increasing the ground sample distance from 32 meters to 22 meters in a swath 410 miles wide.
California is currently experiencing widespread forest fires, which has led to evacuations in two areas. The UK-DMC 2 image satellite is delivering satellite imagery to DMCii in Guildford, England.
In the accompanying image, to the East of Santa Maria, a cloud of smoke from the fire is visible extending to the west above the patchwork agricultural of farms that begins in the outskirts of Santa Maria.
The artificial red indicates green vegetation and the dark patch indicates burned areas, revealing the damage that has been caused to the trees of the Los Padres National Forest from which the smoke plume is blowing. Lake Cachuma can be seen to the south of the image.
The UK-DMC2 satellite was launched into the DMC constellation of earth observation satellites with the Spanish owned satellite Deimos-1 satellite. Both microsatellites were built by SSTL, and are acquiring satellite images of natural disasters, agricultural land, and familiar landmarks around the world.