AAC Clyde Space Wins Order to Continue Operating SeaHawk-1

24 June 2021

AAC Clyde Space, a leading New space company, has received a 135 kUSD order to continue operating the SeaHawk-1 satellite from its Operations Centre in Glasgow for a further 12 months.

The satellite, launched in 2018 is part of a partnership between the University of North Carolina Wilmington and NASA, aiming to observe the changing biology of the ocean surface. It features a compact, multispectral camera (HawkEye) developed by Cloudland Instruments. The images captured by the camera are used to analyze the color of the ocean and thus determine the quality of the water.

"It has been quite an experience working with Clyde Space on the design, construction, launch, commissioning, and now operations of SeaHawk-1. As our partners at Clyde Space said when we started on this venture, this satellite is arguably one of the most sophisticated 3U Cubesats ever conceived. We have just commissioned a satellite the size of a shoebox that's travelling at 7.5 km/s, at an altitude of about 600km with a better downlink rate than the broadband into my house providing scientific quality data on ocean ecology!" says John M Morrison, UNCW Principal Investigator. 

The satellite is operated from AAC Clyde Space's Glasgow Operations Centre, with instrument data downloaded to NASA Wallops facility, through the satellite's X-band downlink. The data is integrated into NASA's SeaWiFS Data Analysis System (SeaDAS) and is distributed worldwide. Initially, Operations will focus on providing free access to all data that has been collected and processed from mid-April 2021 to the International Ocean Color Community. The satellite is expected to produce around 100 images per week.  Data generated enables a greater understanding of the marine food chain, oceanic climate, fisheries and pollution phenomena, enabling to support the health and sustainability of our oceans.

"AAC Clyde Space are delighted to continue to support the SeaHawk-1 mission. Academia, government agencies and industry are joining forces like never before to improve environmental surveillance and generate reliable data, filling in the gaps of our understanding for informed decision making. SeaHawk-1 is a prime example of this, Sustained Ocean Color Monitoring is vital to understanding the marine ecosystem and in turn climate change," says AAC Clyde Space CEO Luis Gomes.

SeaHawk-1, a 3U CubeSat, is a follow-on mission from the highly successful SeaWiFS (Sea-Viewing Wide field-of-View Sensor) mission, launched in 1997. Over 20 years on, SeaHawk-1 is able to replicate the performance of the SeaWiFS mission except it is approximately 100 times smaller and lighter and therefore more economical ensuring long term viability of high-quality science missions.

Under agreement with the Moore Foundation, all Hawkeye imagery will be made available free of charge via the NASA Ocean Biology Distributed Active Archive Center (OB.DAAC) on NASA's Ocean Color Web at https://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov which has been extended to handle HawkEye data.  In addition, NASA's free comprehensive software package for the processing, display and analysis of ocean color data known as SeaDAS (https://seadas.gsfc.nasa.gov/) has been updated to include the support for HawkEye. 

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