Spacetech startup Pixxel is set to launch its third hyperspectral satellite – Anand – onboard ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from the Sriharikota spaceport on Saturday.
Anand is a hyperspectral microsatellite weighing less than 15 kg but having more than 150 wavelengths that will enable it to capture images of the earth in greater detail than today’s non-hyperspectral satellites that have not more than 10 wavelengths.
The imagery from the satellite can be used to detect pest infestation, map forest fires, and identify soil stress and oil slicks among other things, a statement from Pixxel said on Monday.
“After more than 18 months of delay, many many retests, and more than two years of sweat and hard work by the team, we are finally launching this week,” Awais Ahmed, Founder and CEO of Pixxel said on Twitter.
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Founded by Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal, Pixxel became the first Indian company ever to launch a commercial satellite – Shakuntala – in April using Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket.
Pixxel’s 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, the company said.
The satellites are equipped to beam down up to 50 times more information with unprecedented detail, compared with other conventional satellites in orbit.
Pixxel has already inked partnerships with Rio Tinto and Data Farming which will use hyperspectral datasets to identify mineral resources and actively monitor and determine crop issues respectively.
The imagery from this will provide the team targeted inputs to improve the form factor and imaging capabilities of the next batch of commercial-grade satellites.
With this launch, Pixxel moves closer to achieving its vision of building a health monitor for the planet through a constellation of cutting-edge hyperspectral small satellites in space.
Pixxel is backed by Lightspeed, Radical Ventures, Relativity’s Jordan Noone, Seraphim Capital, Ryan Johnson and Accenture among others.