Pixxel, a company founded by eccentric entrepreneur Elon Musk, became the first Indian business to launch a commercial satellite into orbit in April of this year using a Falcon-9 rocket from SpaceX.
Bangalore-based startup for satellites The third hyperspectral satellite from Pixxel is getting ready to blast out into orbit. The planet imaging satellite, dubbed “Anand” (joy), will be sent into orbit on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the workhorse of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), on November 26 from the national space agency’s spaceport at Sriharikota off Andhra Pradesh coat.
Anand, a hyperspectral microsatellite with a total of over 150 wavelengths and a weight of less than 15 kilogrammes, will be able to record Earth in much greater detail than non-hyperspectral satellites with less than 10 wavelengths.
Pixxel, a company founded by eccentric entrepreneur Elon Musk, became the first Indian business to launch a commercial satellite into orbit in April using a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX.
Instead of only designating the fundamental colours red, green, or blue to each pixel, hyperspectral imaging analyses a broad spectrum of light. To learn more about the item being scanned, different spectral bands are separated from the light hitting each pixel.
“Our hyperspectral satellites are unique in their ability to provide hundreds of bands of information with global coverage at a very high frequency, making them ideal for disaster relief, agricultural monitoring, energy monitoring and urban planning applications,” founder & CEO of Pixxel, Awais Ahmed, told Business Today. “They are equipped to beam down up to 50 times more information in unprecedented detail, compared to other conventional satellites in orbit.”
Among other things, the satellite’s imagery can be used to assess soil stress and oil spills, map forest fires, and find pest infestations.
Pixxel has already signed contracts with companies like Rio Tinto, a large global metals and mining company, to identify mineral reserves and with DataFarming, an Australian precision agriculture company, to monitor crop activity and identify crop problems.
In addition to producing commercial data, Pixxel’s upcoming batch of commercial-grade tiny satellites will benefit from Anand’s deployment in orbit by having a better form factor and imaging capabilities. The company, which has a 100-person staff now, eventually wants to launch a constellation of hyperspectral satellites into orbit.