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Space tech start-up Pixxel to launch 36 hyperspectral satellites by December 2023

Pixxel, a domestic space-technology firm that proposes to build and operate nanosatellites to collect, monitor and analyse data through imagery, said it would launch a series of satellite constellations that would contain a total of 36 hyperspectral satellites by end of 2023.

“The plan is to have a total of 36 satellites by end of 2023 to give daily hyperspectral coverage to clients around the globe. With hyperspectral satellites, we will be able to obtain images with 50 times more information when compared to traditional satellite images,” Awais Ahmed, founder and CEO, Pixxel told The Hindu .

Pixxel would be launching its first satellite, ‘Anand’ in October this year in association with Indian Space Research Organisation from Sriharikota. It had to shelve its February launch plan due to some technical snag. The company said it also started working on its second satellite whose launch would be in December.

“We will have 10 satellites, including two demo satellites, up by end of 2022. Under the Firefly range, we will launch multiple constellations of satellites that will support several applications across diverse industries,’’ Mr. Ahmed said.

Responding to a query on cost, he said it would be a `high budget activity’ but giving out exact cost would be difficult. The company, by March, raised a $7.3 million seed round from Lightspeed Ventures, Blume Ventures, growX, Omnivore and Techstars and others.

On the increased demand for hyperspectral imagery he said, there was a lot of pent up demand in the global market for hyperspectral imagery across domains including agriculture, energy (oil leakage), mining, environment, forestry and climate (poisonous gases, forest fires), urban monitoring/development, seed and fertilizer (soil conditions, growth patterns) etc.

“We have a large number of customers globally who are already waiting for our satellites to come up. Currently, they are using aeroplane or drone based imagery. In India, we are also seeing interest in the government sector with Karnataka, Telangana and Gujarat seeming very open to these technologies,’’ he added.

The cost of hyperspectral satellite imagery ranges between $1 to $3 per square kilometre (around 250 acres) and per image. However, the country has no commercial player yet in this space, while two American firms are also currently readying hyperspectral satellites for launches, as per Pixxel.


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Printable version | May 29, 2022 6:03:34 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/business/space-tech-start-up-pixxel-to-launch-36-hyperspectral-satellites-by-december-2023/article35085783.ece