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New Zealand’s CSST Partners With Airbus For Satellite Imagery

New Zealand as seen from low-earth orbit. Photograph courtesy of NASA.

New Zealand’s Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST) and Airbus Defence and Space today announced a partnership agreement, which will give New Zealand businesses, industry, government, and the research community access to an even wider selection of high resolution, weather independent, near real-time satellite imagery.

“In the past, New Zealand has lagged behind other nations in our application of Earth observation (EO) data, which has limited our ability to optimise the use of resource-limited inputs, manage risk, remain internationally competitive, respond to regulatory requirements, and minimise environmental impact,” said Steve Cotter, CEO of CSST.

“In order to address this issue, a key component of CSST’s original business case was to make EO data more available and affordable. We are starting to execute on that plan by negotiating strategic data partnership agreements which increase the availability and affordability of EO products and services in New Zealand and the wider Pacific region.”

CSST is now the primary provider of Airbus satellite data and products in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. With science and commercial applications ranging from disaster monitoring and border security through to agriculture and forestry, access to Airbus products increases CSST’s data offerings to include a broad range of satellites, from compact Cubesats (which can fit in the palm of your hand) to highly sophisticated radar satellites (size of a bus), used for collecting very-high-resolution data about the Earth’s surface – day or night, rain or shine.

Airbus is one of the world’s most renowned commercial space organisations, operating in over 35 countries worldwide, supplying satellites for many governmental space organisations including the European Space Agency (ESA) and German Space Agency (DLR). Airbus is also the prime contractor for over 70 EO satellites, with a full suite of observational purposes and types of leading-edge sensor technology on board.

Airbus’s EO data often best serves decision-makers who require daily revisits, need business-critical information regardless of weather conditions or cloud cover, and require access to very-high-resolution imagery (down to the tens of centimetres), which can only be provided by the latest technology.

Airbus also provides a very quick turn-around on requests for data (two hours max during times of emergency), meeting the specific needs of many government departments, disaster response organisations, and commercial entities.

CSST have been in communication with Airbus since late 2017, building a valued relationship and working towards an agreement that will help create greater opportunity for scientific and commercial application of satellite imagery in New Zealand.

“Satellite imagery, especially weather-independent synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery, provides a great breadth of opportunity for scientific and commercial application in a place like New Zealand, known as the land of the long white cloud,” said Seyed Miri, Regional Manager for Airbus Defence and Space. “We have had several opportunities to work with CSST since their organisation was established and see them as a valued partner. We are delighted to finalise this partnership agreement and expand the good work of both organisations.”

“CSST exists to positively impact New Zealand-the land and its people-by providing key insights from EO data to make smarter, safer, and more sustainable decisions,” said Mr. Cotter of CSST.

“The partnership with Airbus allows us to leverage cutting edge research and development efforts in the international sector towards meeting specific regional and national needs.”

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