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Apple To Power First Real-Time Full-Color Feed From GEO

Earth at 130 degrees East.
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Apr 22, 2005
AstroVision Australia's Asia Pacific Satellite Video Data Processing Space Business Cooperation will Generate Millions of Annual Export Dollars for Australia, Save Lives, Reduce Property Damage and Decrease Government Expenditure

Senator Grant Chapman, Chairman of the Federal Government's Industry and Resource Committee announced today that AstroVision Australia Limited ("AstroVision"), which will launch an Earth Observation Satellite (EOS) in 2008, will be using Apple technology for processing data when received on Earth.

"Innovation drives the process of wealth creation in this country. Government, at both the Federal and State levels, must continually strive to find ways to support and facilitate the innovation process in Australia, forging dynamic and creative links at the interface between Government, Education and the Private sectors. Our economic survival depends on it", Senator Chapman said.

"In teaming with Apple AstroVision intends not only to set up the fastest supercomputer in Australia but to deliver a vital service to a whole range of organizations and consumer markets across the Government, Education and Private sectors.

AstroVision has spent a great deal of time and money in forging links between the Government, Education and Private sectors deserving the highest attention by the Federal and State Governments", Senator Chapman Concluded.

Managing Director Michael Hewins comments: "Apple was our first choice for this project given its advanced capabilities in the design and development of mission-critical supercomputers.

Also, the industry-leading QuickTime platform for the creation, distribution and playback of digital multimedia will enable us to quickly provide customers with stunning real time imagery from Space.

He continues: "We have been working with Apple Computer Australia for some time now and their extensive international expertise and focus on innovation provides significant value to our operations.

AstroVision, a 51% owned subsidiary of the ASX listed company Horizon Global Limited, was incorporated in 2003 and based in Sydney. It has an exclusive license for the Asia-Pacific region for space imaging technology that will deliver information to governments, businesses, and private users in the region.

The company will establish the first live, continuous, high-resolution and true-colour motion imagery and data of the Earth from a geostationary imaging satellite.

The data can be used to monitor weather and natural disasters, reduce bushfire and hail damage, improve coastal surveillance, navigational hazards for maritime and aviation industries, and improve electrical energy forecasting and delivery efficiency. It will be used to create a safer environment and cost savings to government, business and the private sector.

Technology behind the scene

Apple Computer Australia will provide AstroVision with:

  • construction of a state of the art High Performance Computing (HPC) environment using Apple's Unix-based Xserves and Xgrid computing software
  • expertise in design and development of HPCs for parallel computing
  • QuickTime, the global digital media standard
  • an architecture for online distribution of multimedia content
  • the research and design for the development of new consumer electronics products and product channels.

AstroVision's system architecture

A geostationary imaging satellite orbiting at 36,000km above the equator. The orbit speed matches the speed of the Earth's rotation so the satellite is able to continuously image the same areas. The satellite carries seven sensors that collect land, ocean and atmospheric imagery, and,

A ground system that controls the satellite and receives, processes and archives the imagery. This includes electronic cataloguing and distribution capabilities.

The AstroVision system is based on mature space heritage hardware and technology, one of the keys to the low cost, high reliability of the system. The sensors are derivatives of those developed and flown initially for interplanetary missions and planetary observation by NASA, which places a high premium on sensors being lightweight, with high reliability and low power requirements.

This makes for smaller payloads, with smaller satellites to carry them, and results in significantly lower costs than traditional satellite projects.

The positioning of the satellite in geostationary orbit will be at or near 130o East Longitude and will provide 24-hour continuous coverage of the region from India to mid Pacific (west of Hawaii).

The planned launch date for the satellite is in 2007 and the nominal life of the satellite is at least 9 years. The contract for the satellite bus has already been put to tender, and Ball Aerospace (Colorado, USA) was selected as the favoured entity for satellite construction and sensor integration. Ball has an established history in satellite construction with particular experience with imagery systems.

Three US patents (with numerous others in process) have been granted and issued to protect the system designed by AstroVision.

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South Korea To Develop Maritime Observation Satellite
Seoul (SPX) Apr 20, 2005
South Korea will embark on a plan this month to develop a maritime observation satellite capable of providing data on waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula, reported South Korean Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday.