Satellite images have become essential in supporting operations whenever time is critical, as in decision-making in humanitarian and disaster relief operations and in international peacekeeping and security missions.
The satellites, flying in polar orbit, will pass over the Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) receiving stations in Svalbard 14 times per day. Data from several satellites are downloaded using large antenna installations and processed into imagery of different kinds. Hence, satellite imagery is an indispensable tool for Environmental monitoring. Numerous applications including large area coverage of forests and agricultural land, can only be done efficiently using satellites.
The KSAT global ground-station network supply satellite images to users world wide 24/7. From more than 70 satellites, including high-resolution SAR and electro-optical satellites, satellite imagery is collected, analyzed and distributed to users world wide. United Nations is for example one of many users. Its principal advantage is that with stations near both poles and at mid latitudes, KSAT can access satellites at many positions in orbit and download almost any conceivable mix of data from them.
For operational applications, multi-mission, near real time services is needed. Multi mission includes data from several satellites to allow timely access to data as well as access to several sensors like optical (pictures), and radar. The first will only work during daylight, and the latter will also be useful when its dark or cloudy. Rapid access to data is important and the Svalbard ground station will ensure that data can be made available to the user in near-real time. Typically this is less that 30 minutes after the imagery is captured. For the Meccondo accident in the Gulf of Mexico or monitoring fisheries outside the Easter Islands tine is of essence.