Canon is launching a satellite. It’s the CE-SAT 1B (Canon Electric Satellite 1B). It’s an experimental Earth observing microsatellite developed and built by Canon Electronics. The satellite is quite small, measuring only 50x50x70cm and it’s based on the Hodoyoshi-1 satellite, launched in 2014.
Canon sent the original CE-SAT 1 into space in 2017, so the idea is nothing new, but this time we’re hearing about the cameras that are going to be included on the satellite. And strangely, it’s the Canon 5D Mark III and (even more strangely) the Canon PowerShot S110. It seems like an odd combination when Canon’s about to make a big splash with the EOS R5.
According to Gunter’s Space Page, the 5D Mark III is going to be equipped with a 40cm Cassegrain telescope as its lens (about a 3720mm focal length), offering 5760×3840 pixel resolution images of the surface below. This equates to about a 1m ground resolution (each pixel in the image represents about a metre) from a 600km orbit with each image covering about a 6×4 kilometre frame size.
The 5D Mark III might seem like an odd camera to send up, given that it’s a fairly old camera now, and even its 5D Mark IV successor is rumoured to be replaced soon. Not to mention the upcoming EOS R5 mirrorless, the 50-megapixel Canon EOS 5DS and 5DSR DSLRs or the specifically-built-for-astrophotography Canon EOS Ra.
But as Digital Camera World points out, the 5D Mark III is still one of the best cameras Canon has ever made. It doesn’t have the wobbly sensor that we expect to see in the EOS R5 with its IBIS – which I’m sure is a big factor with the forces placed on the camera as it ascends. But exactly why they didn’t go for the more recent, and higher-resolution 5D Mark IV is anybody’s guess, really.
And as for the reported Canon PowerShot S110… Well, I got nothin’. It’s supposed to be being used as the satellite’s wide-angle camera system, offering the equivalent of a 24mm full-frame field of view at the short end with an f/2.0 aperture. But it’s an old 12-megapixel camera, released back in 2012. It just seems even more of an odd choice than the 5D Mark III.
According to DCW, Canon says the launch is due for July with the mission titled “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen”. They also say that the CE-SAT-1B “will go through a 2-year demonstration experiment for forthcoming mass production” – which sounds interesting, if a little ominous. Perhaps they’re looking to compete with Google to map the world.
It will be interesting to see exactly what imagery comes out of the two cameras once they’re up in the skies, if Canon chooses to release any.
[via Digital Camera World]