Canon did not bring new cameras to CES 2021 – instead, it opened up access to the existing orbital camera for everyone. It is located aboard the CE-SAT-1 satellite, which has been circling the ground since 2017. With the help of an interactive site, users can independently take photos of different parts of the world.
The satellite has the size of a wine barrel and flies at an altitude of 600 km. On board is a modified EOS 5D Mark III camera with a 40-cm reflex lens 3720 mm, designed according to the Maksutov-Cassegrain optical system. The maximum resolution reaches 1561×847 for a frame of a surface area of 4.5×3 km, which is very high – for the previous record holder, the WorldView-4 satellite, it is three times less.
Alas, the work is not done in real time; instead, you can take frames on pre-shot arrays of images of the planet’s surface. This is due to the economic model of the project – the satellite is very cheap, does not have flight correction mechanisms and actually operates in a passive mode. But this is only the first step, Canon plans to build a new business in this segment by 2030 with a total cost of one billion dollars. True, another satellite, CE-SAT-1B, was lost during the launch of RocketLab’s Electron rocket last summer, so the project stalled somewhat.