The technology licensed by Cybercorps from NASA can offer high-resolution information about crop health and soil conditions by measuring the surface temperature
Cybercorps, a Georgia-based company, has licensed NASA’s Compact Thermal Imager (CTI) to offer real-time agricultural data to growers, resource managers, first responders and other interested user groups.
Cybercorps had signed a license agreement with NASA for the technology that was developed at its Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The technology is claimed to be small enough to fit into a cube satellite or CubeSat, a miniaturised satellite measuring 10cm².
CTI can offer high-resolution information about crop health and soil conditions by measuring surface temperature.
The technology is touted to take more than 15 million images of Earth from the International Space Station last year and is now ready for commercial use.
The CubeSat, which will carry the CTI, will capture thermal images of Earth surface. Farmers can subscribe to the company’s services to access the thermal imaging data, which can be used to assess the health of agricultural land or an aquatic system.
By combining the imagery with traditional techniques, the bundled information is said to support growers to optimise fertiliser treatments and watering schedules.
Goddard strategic partnerships office senior technology manager Eric McGill said: “Technologies like CTI were developed for research purposes, but they often have additional applications outside of pure science.
“In this case, infrared imaging can play an important role in monitoring crop health and helping members of the agricultural community yield better harvests.”
CTI technology offers a resolution of 262ft (80m) per pixel
The CTI technology claims to be offering a precise spatial resolution of about 262ft (80m) per pixel, which is an improvement over the older generation of instruments that had a resolution of 3,280ft (1km) per pixel.
Cybercorps chairman and founder Kevin Howard said: “Our company’s core components are research, education, and commercialisation, so the space camera subscription project spans all three of our objectives.”