Exclusive: Pixxel to build a real time health monitor for Planet Earth | The Financial Express

Exclusive: Pixxel to build a real time health monitor for Planet Earth

Pixxel’s hyperspectral satellites are unique in their ability to provide hundreds of bands of information with global coverage at a very high frequency.

Exclusive: Pixxel to build a real time health monitor for Planet Earth
Pixxel has already inked partnerships with the likes of Rio Tinto and Data Farming who will use hyperspectral datasets to identify mineral resources and monitoring active and determining crop issues respectively.

Pixxel, an Indian company, has embarked on a mission to launch a constellation of satellites to build a real time health monitor for the planet. The company is juggling cutting edge research in different fields like hyperspectral sensors, computer vision.

Tech It One Step at a Time: Pixxel’s Technology Demonstration

Pixxel planned their constellation launch to first have three satellites online as part of their technology demonstrations. The first two satellites in the trio are Anand and Shakuntala satellites.

Pixxel launched its first fully-fledged commercial satellite Shakuntala (Technology Demonstrator-2) with the SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket earlier this year on April 1st. Girish Linganna, a defence and aerospace analyst, shared with Financial Express Online that “Shakuntala, Pixxel’s first fully-fledged satellite, hosts one of the highest resolution hyperspectral commercial cameras ever flown to space, bringing it one step closer to building a 24×7 health monitor for the planet.”

Launched aboard SpaceX’s Transporter-4 mission from Cape Canaveral, this launch puts the company within touching distance of its ambitious mission to assemble one of the world’s most advanced constellations of low-earth-orbit imaging satellites.

“Weighing less than 15 kgs, Shakuntala (TD-2) is capable of capturing orbital images in more than 150 bands of colour from the visible and infrared spectrum with a resolution of 10-metres per pixel — far exceeding the specificity of 30-metre per pixel hyperspectral satellites launched by a few select organisations such NASA, ESA, and ISRO”, Linganna was informed by Pixxel.

In just a few weeks from launch, TD-2 began amassing information and uncovering the invisible changes wreaking havoc on our planet like natural gas leakages, deforestation, melting ice caps, pollution, and declining crop health.

Pixxel is set to launch their third hyperspectral satellite, Anand, into space. The launch is taking place through a ISRO PSLV rocket on November 26, 2022, at the Sriharikota Launch Complex in Andhra Pradesh. The company became the first Indian company ever to launch a commercial satellite to space when it launched its satellite Shakuntala in April earlier this year through SpaceX.

Speaking on the Anand satellite, Pixxel communicated to Linganna that, “it is a hyperspectral microsatellite which weighs less than 15 kgs and has a total of 150+ wavelengths that will enable it to see our planet in a lot more detail than today’s non-hyperspectral satellites with not more than 10 wavelengths. The imagery from the satellite can be used to detect pest infestation, map forest fires, identify soil stress and oil slicks amongst other things.”

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. They are equipped to beam down upto 50x more information with unprecedented detail, compared to other conventional satellites in orbit.

Pixxel has already inked partnerships with the likes of Rio Tinto and Data Farming who will use hyperspectral datasets to identify mineral resources and monitoring active and determining 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,” he adds.

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First published on: 23-11-2022 at 08:02 IST