Australia’s CSIRO research outfit has paid a yet-to-be-revealed amount to be given access to the UK’s NovaSAR satellite, touted as one of the most sophisticated birds ever made.

The NovaSAR, due to be launched later this year, has also been part-funded by the British Government in a joint venture with aviation company Airbus and manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technologies.

The satellite will use imaging strategy known as synthetic aperture radar, which can take multiple readings, combining them over time to produce a highly detailed two- or three-dimensional image with extremely clear detail.

This is said to make it well suited to environmental monitoring tasks, including collecting data from floods and natural disasters, and assessing large-scale land impacts, including crop growth or ice-melt patterns.

Under its deal, the CSIRO will have access to 10 percent of the satellite’s run and research time, a deal said to be worth more than $10 million over seven years.