Charybdis: The next generation in ocean colour and biogeochemical remote sensing

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Within the field of Space-based Maritime observation, there exists an opportunity in the form of high spatial, high temporal resolution multi-spectral imaging to map coastal and inland waterway colour and biogeochemistry. Information provided would help environmental agencies and the scientific community to better understand patterns and evolution of ecological systems, sediment suspension in river estuaries and the effects of anthropogenic processes on our water systems. In addition, monitoring of these colour patterns with respect to the well understood tidal sequence would provide significant benefits to our understanding of the way in which tidal forcing affects ocean colour.

This paper describes the astrodynamic properties of a tidal-synchronous satellite trajectory and the system-level design of a multi-platform CubeSat constellation capable of high resolution, multispectral imaging. The constellation, named ‘Charybdis’, is envisaged to be dedicated to providing unprecedented levels of data (high temporal and spatial resolution) of coastal regions and inland waterway colour and biogeochemistry. Analyses of two alternative missions are presented; one providing bi-hourly, global coverage from 115 nanosatellites and a second providing bi-hourly regional coverage over the UK mainland from 30 nanosatellites.
Original languageEnglish
PagesArticle Number SSC12-IV-7
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2012
Event26th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites - Logan, Utah, United States
Duration: 13 Aug 201216 Aug 2012


Conference26th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLogan, Utah


  • astrodynamics
  • satellite trajectory
  • CubeSats
  • coastal regions
  • biogeochemistry
  • nanosatellites
  • ocean colour
  • remote sensing

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