Framework for Multi-Asset Comparison and Rapid Down-selection for Earth Observation Missions

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Gilleron, Jerome
Muehlberg, Marc
Payan, Alexia P.
Choi, Youngjun
Briceno, Simon
Mavris, Dimitri N.
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Observing the Earth, whether it be from space or from the air, has become easier in recent years with the advent of new space-borne and airborne technologies. First, satellites constantly provide data about almost any point on the globe with varying resolutions and in various spectral bands. Second,Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are becoming more readily accessible to the public and may be rapidly deployed to take high resolution images of ground features or areas of interest. Third, manned aircraft may be used to image large areas of land at a higher resolution than satellites and have been used regularly in disaster monitoring and surveillance missions. However, when multiple heterogeneous assets compete to perform a given aerial imaging mission, deciding which asset is better suited and/or less costly to operate in a timely manner is challenging. Every acquisition mode is different, resolution values are computed differently and there currently does not exist a common framework to compare UAV, manned aircraft and satellites. To address this challenge, this paper describes a methodology to rapidly compare various types of aerial assets (such as UAVs and manned aircraft) and space assets (such as satellites) to decide which one would be better able to perform an Earth observation mission depending on a set of requirements. To demonstrate the proposed methodology, this paper executes numerical simulations with three different representative scenarii in California.
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