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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Indian startup Pixxel uses Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket to launch new satellite

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A spacetech startup, has successfully launched its first fully-fledged commercial satellite. Pixxel used a rocket from Elon Musk’s SpaceX for its project.

Pixxel, a spacetech business, has successfully launched its first fully-fledged commercial satellite, dubbed ‘Shakuntala,’ using Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket.

‘Shakuntala,’ Pixxel’s first fully-fledged satellite, hosts one of the highest resolution hyperspectral commercial cameras ever flown to orbit, putting the company one step closer to developing a 24×7 health monitor for the globe, according to a release.

This launch took place on Friday on SpaceX’s Transporter-4 mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida.  With this, the company moves closer to fulfilling its ambitious aim of assembling one of the world’s most advanced constellations of low-Earth-orbit imaging satellites.

Pixxel CEO Awais Ahmed said, “From being one of the 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 come full circle for us.”

Shakuntala (TD-2) weighs less than 15 kg and can capture 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 as NASA, ESA, and ISRO.

Shakuntala will begin gathering data and discovering the invisible changes causing havoc on our globe in only a few weeks, such as natural gas leakages, deforestation, melting ice caps, pollution, and poor crop health.

Pixxel’s launch follows a $25 million Series A fundraising round led by Radical Ventures, Seraphim Space Capital, Relativity Space co-founder Jordan Noone, Lightspeed Partners, Blume Ventures, and Sparta LLC, among others.

It lays the groundwork for Pixxel’s first commercial phase satellites, which will launch in early 2023.

Pixxel’s hyperspectral constellation will be able to cover each place on the world every 48 hours, thanks to six satellites flying in a sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) around a 550-km altitude.

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