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  • "Watch the Birdie" … from Space

    Paper ID



    • Heidi Ziegler



    United States




    As environmental and political factors continue to affect wildlife and their habitats, researchers search for new sources of telling data, such as video, that will provide clues to help preserve these endangered animals. Since the 1990s, wildlife has been successfully fitted with miniature RF radios that transmit, at a low bandwidth and link power, the animal's position plus a host of local environmental parameters to the Argos satellite payload system. To date, challenges, in remote space-based video collection such as increased bandwidth and power requirements as well as cameras that can be accommodated on small animals, have rendered these systems unavailable to most researchers. Recent technology advances, such as the miniaturization of electronics for use in video cameras and radio transmitters, video data management techniques, and satellite manufacturing, aid in the realization of a feasible wildlife video collection system. To this end, we compare and contrast system architectures such as augmentation to current systems, e.g., Argos, RF-based systems with terrestrial enhancement, optical-based systems and systems composed of novel techniques such as the DARPA F6 (future fast, flexible, fractionated, free-flying) system concept to create a powerful phased array antenna from a swarm of small satellites. System feasibility, both technical and financial, is evaluated.