Space Newsfeed


New Light Technologies and Alba Orbital are partnering to utilize the first available low-cost, high-resolution satellite nighttime light data

(9 February 2021 - Alba Orbital) New Light Technologies (NLT) is partnering with Alba Orbital to provide agencies in and outside of the US with innovative solutions that utilize the first available low-cost, high-resolution satellite nighttime light data.

Alba Orbital, headquartered in Scotland, has developed a unique PocketQube Satellite platform developed in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA).

The platform, known as Unicorn-2, is a pico-satellite, which enables lower data collection costs due to its ultra small and light form-factor.

low 1

Alba Orbital’s Unicorn-2 Pico-satellite (courtesy: Alba Orbital)

low 2

Satellite image of Earth at night (courtesy: Alba Orbital)

A tech-demo of the Unicorn-2 platform is scheduled for the first half of 2021 to collect images of Earth at night. The sensors on board Unicorn-2 are expected to collect nighttime light data in a spatial resolution of up to 24 meters per pixel, the highest resolution nighttime light data currently available for public consumption.

According to Greg Stewart, Alba Orbital’s NightLights Project Manager, Earth Observation imagery from Alba Orbital’s NightLights constellation of Unicorn-2 spacecraft will allow users to see change in our planet like never before. Following the tech-demo, Alba Orbital plans to increase the size of its Unicorn-2 constellation allowing users to track changes month-to-month with ultra-high resolution monthly composites.

Through its partnership with Alba Orbital, NLT will support both public and private sector agencies in accessing this data. The partnership will also optimize the data’s use-cases and translate them into impactful insights through the development of innovative technological solutions ranging from algorithms that process the data and the development of platforms to visualize them.

Dr. Ran Goldblatt, Chief Scientist at NLT, notes that Unicorn-2`s high-resolution nighttime light data will allow greater understanding and granularity of Earth-based phenomena than ever before.

According to Dr. Goldblatt, these insights will be invaluable to many sectors. For example, they will help the commercial sector make better investment decisions, provide governments complementary information to census surveys and tools for more efficient disaster management, and allow accurate and timely tracking of the United Nations General Assembly`s sustainable development goals (SDGs).

About New Light Technologies

New Light Technologies Inc. (NLT), based in Washington DC, is a leading provider of integrated cloud, cybersecurity, software development, data analytics, geospatial, and scientific consulting services. NLT offers distinctive capabilities in the development, implementation, and management of cloud-native platforms that enable the collection, integration, modeling, privacy protection, quality assurance, and control, and public release of federal data products and web-based decision support tools.

About Alba Orbital

Alba Orbital is the world’s leading PocketQube manufacturer and launch provider. PocketQubes are tiny satellites consisting of 5cm cubes that are democratising access to space by removing economic barriers to launch services and platforms for smaller organisations. To date Alba Orbital has deployed more PocketQubes in-orbit than any other organisation worldwide, with a further 9 scheduled for launch with SpaceX in 2021.