Oak Ridge National Laboratory is debuting a small satellite ground station that uses high-performance computing to support automated detection of changes to Earth’s landscape. The new system will reduce the time it takes to collect, process and analyze satellite imagery, saving precious seconds when human life may be at risk.

The HPC-enabled automated change detection and satellite integration can help speed emergency response and relief efforts following crises such as wildfires, natural disasters or sudden population migrations.

Once the system’s installation is complete, expected this summer, satellites across UHF and S Band frequencies will be able to downlink data direct to ORNL’s supercomputing facility for analytics and other tasks.

“We can collect data from one satellite to identify something and then re-task another constellation to look at it from a different perspective,” ORNL’s David Page said of the process to connect satellite constellations.

ORNL is working with private small satellite companies and plans to expand its footprint.