An Indian startup has earned $7.3 million to build a constellation of the hyperspectral imaging satellites, the first phase towards a much larger venture. Pixxel revealed the seed round on 17 March and received support from Omnivore VC as well as Techstars, among others. The organization had previously received $700,000 in the “pre-seed” financing to get underway.
Bengaluru, an India-centered firm, strives to stand out in a competitive area of Earth-imaging firms by concentrating on the hyperspectral imaging, which captures data through hundreds of spectral bands at the same time. Agriculture, oil, and natural resources will benefit from such imagery, which will offer a wealth of data. Despite its potential, hyperspectral data has yet to gain traction in the commercial imaging industry. Satellogic, for instance, flies hyperspectral imagers on its increasing constellation of satellites, but more traditional high-resolution imagery that such satellites often have has piqued interest.
Pixxel predicts that higher-quality hyperspectral data can help it succeed. In a conversation, Awais Ahmed, Pixxel’s co-founder, and CEO stated, “If you glance at Satellogic, it’s thirty bands at 30 meters resolution.” “We’re off with a 5-meter capacity and 150 bands.”
He says that the updated data can be paired with a tech interface that will make it simpler for consumers to interpret data, which is a problem for hyperspectral imaging. “People also shied away from hyperspectral photography in favour of the optical RGB imaging as it needs more computing capability,” stated Pixxel co-founder as well as chief technology officer (CTO) Kshitij Khandelwal. “We’re putting together a toolkit so that anyone can deal with hyperspectral data as well as other types of data.”
Pixxel has planned to launch the first satellite, a 15-kg spaceship, into orbit by now. However, due to software issues, the corporation had to pull satellite from the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle barely days before the deployment on February 28.
According to Ahmed, they discovered issues with GPS logging and acquisition tools a day before they were supposed to deliver satellite to the launch pad. He explained, “We wanted not to hurry it.” The business has resolved the software problem, done further tests, and is searching for launch options “in the coming months” on either an Indian or even an international rocket.
Pixxel is currently building a second satellite, which will weigh around 30 kg and be deployed in October. The satellite, just like the first, would be manufactured by the firm but with parts obtained from a variety of sources. Dragonfly Aerospace, which is a South African spacecraft imaging device manufacturer, provides the spacecraft’s camera, for instance. Khandelwal explained, “We are basically a satellite integrator and also a designer.”