Bengaluru-based satellite start-up Pixxel is gearing up to launch its third hyperspectral satellite into space. To be called ‘Anand’ (meaning joy), the earth imaging satellite will be launched into space on the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)’s workhorse, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on November 26 from the national space agency’s spaceport. at Sriharikota off Andhra Pradesh coat.
Anand is a hyperspectral microsatellite that weighs under 15 kilos and has a total of over 150 wavelengths that will enable it to capture Earth in a lot more detail than non-hyperspectral satellites with less than 10 wavelengths.
In April, Pixxel became the first Indian company ever to launch a commercial satellite in space on a Falcon 9 rocket of the maverick billionaire Elon Musk founded SpaceX rocket.
Hyperspectral imaging analyzes a wide spectrum of light instead of just assigning primary colors red, green or blue to each pixel. The light striking each pixel is broken down into several spectral bands to gather more information on the imaged object.
“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.”
The imagery from the satellite can be used to detect pest infestation, map forest fires, and identify soil stress and oil spills among other things.
Pixxel has already inked agreements with the likes of global metals and mining major Rio Tinto for the identification of mineral deposits and the Australian precision agriculture firm DataFarming for active monitoring and determining crop issues.
Other than generating commercial data, Anand’s deployment in space will also help improve the form factor and imaging capabilities for Pixxel’s next batch of commercial-grade small satellites. Currently operating with a team of 100 people, the company eventually plans to put a constellation of hyperspectral satellites in space.
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