This 2-Year-Old Spacetech Startup Is Building Earth Imaging Satellite To Help Sectors

Pixxel is aiming to launch two satellites by the end of this year and aims to put up a constellation of 36 more satellites in space by the end of 2023

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Space is often described as the sea of mystery. So much is not known to us. However, humankind, the most curious living species known so far, with every tiny step strives to explore the unexplored. In the mission to explore what is beyond those blue skies and benefit from it, technology has to play a crucial role. Several companies have discovered different ways to help humanity leap ahead. One such Indian startup is Pixxel, a growing private earth imaging company that is in the process of building a constellation of nano-earth imaging satellites.

Awais Ahmed, Co-founder and CEO, Pixxel

What does Pixxel Do?

Founded in 2019 by two BITS Pilani alumni, Awais Ahmed, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) and Kshitij Khandelwal, co-founder and chief technology officer, Pixxel is building the highest resolution hyperspectral satellite constellation.

As per Ahmed, the Bengaluru-based startup is working on two key components that are satellite imagery constellation to provide the correct kind of infrastructure in space, and developing software tools and infrastructure that allow people to seamlessly work with satellite data.

He claims that the startup is building the world’s highest resolution hyperspectral satellite constellation that is expected to beam down up to 50 times more information than any of today’s satellites up in orbit.

“Pixxel's hyperspectral imaging will be accurate, precise, and near real-time, allowing targeted monitoring, localized problem detection, and hyper-optimized solutions in any sector throughout the world,” he added. 

The company claims that its first hyper spectral satellite will be launched within the next few months. 

Pixxel’s Impact

The startups’ satellite imagery can be used across multiple sectors. For instance in agriculture, satellite imagery can be utilized to monitor crop health, detect variations, and increase productivity. This can be accomplished by covering areas with up-to-date data daily throughout the year, forecasting pest infections, and identifying crop illnesses before they pose a severe threat.

Pixxel's hyperspectral imaging can assist in mapping and monitoring forest cover, measuring and reversing deforestation, measuring climate risks such as flooding, famine, and wildfire, tracking natural capital utilization and impact on future economic and ecological sustainability, detecting hazardous material and taking timely measures to mitigate the danger, and detecting hazardous material and taking timely measures to mitigate the danger.

Ahmed believes that satellite imagery can enhance relief efforts, detect chemical seepages across land classes, monitor inland waterway health, and track rail-road conditions at regional and national levels.

To date, Pixxel has deployed solutions for the urban monitoring, agriculture and environment sectors.

When asked about space exploration, Ahmed explained, “The future of human life in space requires a lot of resources - and Pixxel plans to use our satellite technology to map out the remotest corners of the solar system so we can explore these resources in space.”

“In the long run, these satellites will act as a catalyst to open-up rapid inexpensive access to the entire solar system – By deploying swarms of Pixxel’s satellites, exploring the moon, Mars and any other planetary body for potential landing sites becomes easier, identifying water and other precious resources on the Moon, Mars and asteroids becomes cheaper and exploring any planetary body in the solar system become much more accessible than it is today,” he further continued.

Pandemic & Future Plans

While pandemic has impeded the testing and development of Pixxel’s satellites as the same requires presence at the site, the team found backups for their supply chain and manufacturing across the world to continue their work. The Indian startup ecosystem is gradually seeing a growing interest in space tech. India’s national space agency ISRO has also shown its inclination towards growing spacetech startups and has signed a partnership with two tech startups - Agnikul Cosmos and Pixxel. 

The startup at present is working to create and launch a constellation of the world's most advanced earth imaging satellites that can beam down data at a degree of detail never before attempted. Pixxel is aiming to launch two satellites by the end of this year and aims to put up a constellation of 36 more satellites in space by the end of 2023. 

The startup has to date raised $8 million worth of funding from Techstars, Omnivore, and other VC firms and is utilizing them to expedite the process of R&D for their future missions.