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Canon unveils interactive website that lets users take photos from a real satellite

Canon has unveiled an interactive site that allows you to use its CE-SAT-1 satellite which is equipped with a lightly modified 5D Mark III DSLR.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | January 18, 2021 | Updated 12:39 IST

Highlights

  • Canon unveils interactive website for users.
  • CE-SAT-1 satellite used to capture images.
  • Experience narrated by astronaut Marsha Ivins.

CES 2021 was relatively disappointing for camera lovers. Hardly any camera hardware was announced during the Consumer Electronic Show that would make you take note. One of the key market players, Canon, was no different. Yet, it managed to do something which should have your attention. Canon has unveiled an interactive site that allows you to use its CE-SAT-1 satellite which is equipped with a lightly modified 5D Mark III DSLR.

The satellite can be used to grab simulated photos of locations including New York City, the Bahamas and Dubai. So basically, you can click images from space while sitting at home. The microsatellite was launched by the camera maker in 2017 and holds an EOS 5D Mark III camera that's fitted with a 40 cm Cassegrain-type (mirror) 3720mm telescope.

The satellite orbits at a 600 km orbit (375 miles) and provides about a 36-inch ground resolution within a 3x2 mile frame, Canon claims. It also houses a PowerShot S110 for wider images.

The new website has an interactive demo of the satellite which takes you through the concept and also showcases images clicked from different parts of the world. You can peruse pre-captured images from a wide variety of locations, including the Bahamas, New York City, San Jose, Alaska, Japan, Antarctica and more.

This is the only catch here. While the users can go to this new website and capture the images, these are not the real time images but pre-captured shots by the satellite. Each shot shows the location and altitude of the image. To allow users to capture live images, Canon would need to move the CE-SAT-1 around the Earth at nearly 17,000 miles per hour, circling the globe in just over an hour and half.

The website is designed to give the feel of satellite imagery. The entire experience is narrated by astronaut Marsha Ivins, who talks about the satellite's purpose and design.

Over the next few years, Canon plans to aggressively invest on microsatellites. These are smaller and cheaper than regular satellites. Canon hopes to build a billion dollar business around them by 2030.

After launching the CE-SAT-1 in 2017, Canon attempted to launch an updated CE-SAT-1B last summer. However, it was lost when RocketLab's Electron rocket failed shortly after launch.

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