Space data company Pixxel on Friday launched its first fully-fledged satellite TD-2 aboard billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX's Transporter-4 mission.
TD-2 is Pixxel's first fully-fledged satellite hosting one of the highest resolution hyperspectral commercial cameras ever flown, bringing it one step closer to building a 24x7 health monitor for the planet. The launch, the company said, puts it within a touching distance of its mission to assemble one of the world's most advanced constellations of low-earth-orbit imaging satellites, and help it bring the benefits of space down to earth.
"From being one of the very few finalists in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in 2017 to now launching our own satellites as part of SpaceX's fourth dedicated rideshare mission, life has truly come full circle for us here at Pixxel," Pixxel said.
Weighing less than 15 kgs, 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-meters per pixel, far exceeding the specificity of 30-meter per pixel hyperspectral satellites launched by a few select organizations such NASA, ESA, and ISRO, the company said.
"In just a few weeks from launch, TD-2 will begin 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," it added.
The launch also sets the stage for Pixxel's first commercial phase satellites to be launched in early 2023 and the commercial sale of its data. With six satellites flown in a sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) around a 550-km altitude, Pixxel's hyperspectral constellation will be able to cover any point on the globe every 48 hours.
"With even more satellites scheduled to launch in late 2023, Pixxel will achieve daily global coverage by early 2024. The learnings from the data beamed down by our constellation will provide us with a global scale perspective of planetary-scale ecosystems and biospheres that will be used to create an AI-informed analysis platform, helping us create a digital twin of the earth," it said.
Pixxel had recently raised $25 million in Series A funding from Radical Ventures, Seraphim Space Capital, Relativity Space co-founder Jordan Noone, Lightspeed Partners, Blume Ventures, Sparta LLC, among others.
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