EOI (Earth Observant Inc.) Space plans to launch a VLEO (Very Low Earth Orbiting) constellation of “ultra-high” resolution imaging satellites for both government and commercial use, known as Stingray. By operating in VLEO, the Stingray satellites will be closer to Earth than most other satellites, and will be capable of delivering the highest resolution imagery.
Satellite operations from VLEO benefit from reduced payload power draw and improved signal to noise ratios (SNR), enhanced resolution for optical imagers, and lower latency for satellite communications.
The first of EOI’s Stingray satellites is planned to launch in early 2024, with up to six satellites deployed to VLEO by the end of 2024. EOI is planning to deploy a constellation of up to 60 satellites with each spacecraft planned to remain in orbit for up to five years.
The VLEO constellation will provide ultra-high resolution imagery for applications in real-time intelligence, asset monitoring, situational awareness, and more. Each satellite in the constellation will be equipped with multispectral (MS) near-infrared (NIR) imagers delivering high resolution imagery.
The NIR optical imager onboard Stingray will offer 0.15 m spatial resolution imagery with near-real time access, thanks to its proximity to the Earth and no need for ground processing stations – relaying imagery directly to the user. The imager can provide a maximum swath of 5 km x 50 km, with a revisit period of 1.5 days for a single Stingray and an estimated 10 to 15 minute revisit period for the whole constellation.
The constellation will make use of the HET-X Electric Propulsion System (EPS) to continuously maintain an VLEO altitude of 250 km. Stingray will match the performance of a much larger and heavier satellite with more expensive payloads flying at conventional LEO (Low Earth Orbit) altitudes, reducing costs of the satellite constellation and enabling competitively priced services to its customers.