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System characterization report on the Satellogic NewSat multispectral sensor

January 3, 2022

Executive Summary

This report addresses system characterization of Satellogic’s NewSat satellite (also known as ÑuSat) and is part of a series of system characterization reports produced and delivered by the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Cal/Val Center of Excellence. These reports present and detail the methodology and procedures for characterization; present technical and operational information about the specific sensing system being evaluated; and provide a summary of test measurements, data retention practices, data analysis results, and conclusions.

Since 2016, Satellogic has launched 17 NewSat satellites. All NewSat satellites have four-band imagers with a 1-meter (m) ground sample distance, and values in pixels are identical to values in meters. All NewSats have been launched into Sun-synchronous orbits of about 475 kilometers, with inclinations of about 97.5 degrees. The satellites have expected lifetimes of about 3 years. More information on the Satellogic satellites and sensors is available in the “2020 Joint Agency Commercial Imagery Evaluation—Remote Sensing Satellite Compendium” and from the manufacturer at https://satellogic.com/.

The Earth Resources Observation and Science Cal/Val Center of Excellence system characterization team completed data analyses to characterize the geometric (interior and exterior), radiometric, and spatial performances. Results of these analyses indicate that the NewSat satellites have an interior geometric performance in the range of −0.119 (−0.119 pixel) to 0.020 m (0.020 pixel) in easting and −0.148 (−0.148 pixel) to 0.014 m (0.014 pixel) in northing in band-to-band registration, an exterior geometric performance of −9.04 (−9.04 pixels) to −5.84 m (−5.84 pixels) in easting and 1.25 (1.25 pixels) to 3.11 m (3.11 pixels) in northing offset in comparison to Sentinel-2, an exterior geometric performance using ground control points of a 6.5-m circular error (95 percent), a radiometric performance in the range of 0.034 to 0.081 in offset and 0.652 to 0.808 in slope, and a spatial performance in the range of 2.01 to 2.48 pixels for full width at half maximum, with a modulation transfer function at a Nyquist frequency in the range of 0.009 to 0.043.

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