Spacetech startup Pixxel is all set to launch its third hyperspectral satellite – Anand – aboard ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from the Sriharikota spaceport on Saturday. Anand is a hyperspectral microsatellite weighing less than 15 kg, but has more than 150 wavelengths, allowing it to capture images of the Earth with greater detail than today’s non-hyperspectral satellites, which are no more than 10 wavelengths.
Satellite imagery can be used to detect pest infestations, map forest fires, identify soil stress and oil spills, among other things, Pixxel said in a statement on Monday.”After more than 18 months of delays, many, many retests, and more than two years of team sweat and hard work, we’re finally launching this week,” Awais Ahmed, founder and CEO of Pixxel, said on Twitter. Pixxel, founded by Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal, became the first ever Indian company to launch a commercial satellite – Shakuntala – using Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket in April.
Pixxel’s hyperspectral satellites are unique in their ability to provide hundreds of bands of information with global coverage at 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 transmit up to 50 times more information with unprecedented detail compared to other conventional satellites in orbit. Pixxel has already partnered with Rio Tinto and Data Farming to use hyperspectral datasets to identify mineral resources and monitor active and defining crop problems.
Images from this will provide the team with targeted inputs to improve the form factor and imaging capabilities of the next series 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.