May 17, 2024
an Australian space company took an incredible photo of the ISS

an Australian space company took an incredible photo of the ISS

We are accustomed to artists’ impressions, 3D imaging and in some cases, actual photographs taken when it comes to observing objects orbiting the Earth.

However, on May 14, 2024, the Australian space company HEO Robotics posted on X (formerly Twitter), a photo of the ISS from a very special point of view which is not the one we usually know.

What is HEO Robotics?

Based in New South Wales in Australia, the company HEO Robotics or HEO, which is the acronym for High Earth Orbit, is a start-up which aims, in its terms, to “provide high-quality data on resident space objects for a safer, more sustainable and transparent space environment”.

In other words, HEO Robotics provides, on request, information on almost all objects that are in orbit around the Earth in order to identify them, but also to monitor them remotely, by having access to certain data including “the state of health” of the latter.

It is thanks to their HEO Inspect tool that it is possible to do all this. A free version is available to everyone. However, and this is quite normal, to be able to access the maximum potential of the tool, you must belong to a space agency, a government or a space company.

But the free version is already quite sufficient to have access to certain photographs taken by HEO Robotics tools, as well as having access to 3D models of satellites which can be searched by ID or directly by name in the search bar.

Of course, no confidential data is available on the tool. Just the bare essentials, at least with the free version.

The incredible photo of the ISS

On X, formerly Twitter, Heo Robotics often enjoys posting photos of known satellites currently orbiting the Earth.

This May 14, 2024, it is therefore a photo of the ISS that the official HEO account posted.

Translation : “Non-terrestrial imagery offers the best view of satellites in space! We captured this image of the ISS as it passed over the Indian Ocean from a satellite 69.06 km away.

So it’s almost a close-up that HEO offered us on the International Space Station. But the most impressive thing is not the photo itself.

Indeed, in responses to the tweet, HEO gave the relative speed of the object they had captured: 5.9 km/s. Which makes this almost clear photo even more impressive.

What equipment does HEO Robotics use?

To provide such images and data, the young Australian company therefore relies on their HEO Inspect tool, but also on telescopic space cameras that they produce: Holmes and Adler.

These cameras are designed by HEO to be “easily accommodated as a secondary payload on a ship”.

Thus, thanks to their various partnerships, they send their cameras to numerous satellites to be able to photograph others.

The Holmes model is designed to be attached to “micro-satellites” and is capable of capturing images as space objects pass in front of the host craft.

The Adler model, on the other hand, is made to be attached to larger satellites and is capable of taking photos in a higher resolution.

How to know the exact position of the ISS?

It is possible to have access, in real time, to the exact position of the ISS in the sky. If a YouTube live on the NASA channel is constantly running to see it orbit the Earth, websites are also available to know the trajectory and position of the station during its orbit.

And for the sites, it is possible to go to NASA’s “Live Space Station Tracking Map” page or to the ISS Tracker site. Neither of these two sites is in French, but a simple translation tool will allow you to understand them easily.

Source: Space / X / HEO

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