Indian aerospace startup Pixxel has launched its first fully-fledged satellite featuring one of the highest resolution hyperspectral commercial cameras. Named Shakuntala or Pixxel TD-2, the satellite was launched aboard SpaceX Falcon 9’s Transporter-4 mission from Cape Canaveral.
Pixxel TD-2 Shakuntala Satellite Launched in SpaceX’s Falcon 9
Pixxel’s Shakuntala/ TD-2 satellite weighs less than 15 kgs. According to Pixxel, TD-2 is capable of capturing orbital images in more than 150 bands of color from the visible and infrared spectrum with a resolution of 10-meters per pixel. Notably, this exceeds the 30-meter per pixel resolution of hyperspectral satellites launched by NASA, ESA, and ISRO.
Over the coming weeks, TD-2 will focus on natural gas leakages, deforestation, melting ice caps, pollution, and declining crop health on our green planet. “Imagine being able to predict a famine before a crop infestation takes over or stop an oil spill before it endangers delicate oceanic biospheres,” says the company in a blog post.
Pixxel recently raised $25 million in Series A funding from Radical Ventures, Seraphim Space Capital, Relativity Space co-founder Jordan Noone, Lightspeed Partners, Blume Ventures, and Sparta LLC among others. This is in addition to over 50 customers who have signed pre-launch agreements from industries across agriculture, oil and gas, mining, and climate sectors.
In an interview with Mint, Pixxel’s CEO Awais Ahmed says the aerospace company is now working on the second launch of its technology demonstrator satellite. Dubbed Anand, it will be aboard an upcoming mission with the ISRO’s Earth Observation Satellite (EOS-6) as part of the Indian Oceansat program.
Looking ahead, Pixxel plans to launch its first commercial phase satellites in early 2023 and start the commercial sale of its data. Thanks to six satellites flown in a sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) around a 550 km altitude, Pixxel’s hyperspectral constellation will cover any point on the globe every 48 hours.