Indian Space Tech Startup Sets Sights on Hyperspectral Imaging Constellation

Based in Bengaluru Pixxel, a rising star in India’s space tech sector, is on course to launch six satellites in 2024. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and SpaceX are both scheduled to launch rockets for these missions, which will add a substantial amount to the company’s expanding fleet of hyperspectral imaging satellites.

Hyperspectral Imagery

Hyperspectral imaging, a complex technology that records and analyzes light across a wide spectrum of wavelengths, is the area of expertise for Pixxel’s satellite payloads. This special capacity makes it possible to identify and analyze materials using their individual spectral signatures. Hyperspectral photography is essential for a number of purposes, such as:

  • Monitoring crop health, identifying nutrient deficiencies, and optimizing irrigation practices.
  • Detecting leaks in pipelines and optimizing exploration efforts for oil and gas reserves.
  • Assessing forest health, tracking deforestation, and identifying invasive species.
  • Detecting pollution sources, monitoring water quality, and tracking natural disasters.

Pixxel’s Ambitious Launch Plans

At the opening of their massive 30,000-square-foot Bangalore facility in February 2024, Pixxel presented their plans for a network of hyperspectral imaging satellites. This constellation will supply extensive Earth observation data for the companies indicated above as well as others.

Balancing Flexibility and Scheduling with Launch Providers

The choice between using SpaceX’s Transporters program or ISRO’s PSLV ridesharing program depends on two main factors: launch availability and satellite readiness. These specific ridesharing missions provide an economical way to launch several tiny satellites into orbit. Although they typically arrive on time, delays do occasionally happen. Although the primary satellite on board ISRO’s PSLV is a reliable launch vehicle, the launch schedule is centered around it. Launch dates for secondary payloads, such as Pixxel’s satellites, may be delayed due to primary satellite delays. In case of ISRO’s launch, we are dependent on the primary satellite which, if gets delayed, the launch has to get delayed. So we have to wait for that.

Pixxel’s Stellar Track Record and Manufacturing Prowess

Pixxel isn’t new to the launch scene. In 2022, they successfully deployed their Shakuntala (Technology Demonstrator-2) satellite using a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket. Including Shakuntala, Pixxel boasts a total of three launched satellites, with their most recent launch occurring in November 2022. Pixxel’s state-of-the-art spacecraft manufacturing facility, aptly named MegaPixxel, boasts a production capacity of 40 large satellites annually. The facility is currently humming with activity, with Ahmed revealing that they are working on nearly nine satellites simultaneously.

A Thriving Indian Space Tech Landscape

Several Indian space tech businesses, like Pixxel, are anticipated to have a successful year in 2024. In February 2024, the Indian Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) released a manifesto stating that launch vehicle manufacturers Skyroot Aerospace and Agnikul Cosmos would launch a total of seven times between 2024 and early 2025. The increased number of launches indicates the growing potential of India’s space technology industry.

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Saiba Verma, an accomplished editor with a focus on finance and market trends, contributes to Atom News with a dedication to providing insightful and accurate business news. Saiba Verma analytical approach adds depth to our coverage, keeping our audience well-informed.