EO-ALERT proposes a new approach for the EO data and processing chain architecture, moving tasks of the ground segment to the flight segment thanks to the development of innovative key technologies, to provide improved data throughput by optimising the utilisation of onboard resources.

This proposed next generation EO data chain exploits the observation that the classical EO data chain is focused on the fast transfer of the raw sensor data to ground, leading to the bottleneck that currently exists, and the natural drive towards optimisation of the classical EO data chain, through faster data transfer to ground, with higher compression ratios, and improved ground station contact periods. However this raw data is not the EO product of market value. In fact, in commercial applications, the EO raw data is not provided nor sold to the end user, and this is also the case in institutional EO solutions; the EO raw data is simply an intermediate step. The market value lies in the EO product delivered to the end user, not in the basic EO raw data. Hence if the EO image products can be generated on-board the satellite, given its very low data volume relative to the raw data, it can be very quickly and reliably transferred to ground.

EO-ALERT proposes innovation in several critical technological areas regarding on-board elements of the data and processing chain: on-board image generation and processing for both SAR and optical sensor data, on-board reconfigurable data handling, high-speed on-board avionics, on-board data compression and reconfigurable high data rate communication links to ground. These technological areas cover the EO processing chain from the acquisition of the image up to delivery to a ground station. Such innovations will also provide capabilities for the optimisation of the classical EO data chain towards a data chain with greatly improved data throughput.