Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) has received a contract to develop the very first satellite which is in a constellation aimed to deliver thermal infrared imagery for climate change applications from British Earth monitoring firm Satellite Vu. The satellite will serve as a pioneer for Satellite Vu’s intended seven-satellite constellation, according to SSTL. The spacecraft is going to be built in the 4th quarter of 2022, with a launch date in the 4th quarter of 2022. The terms of the arrangement were not disclosed by the companies.
The satellite is centered on SSTL’s DarkCarb design, which is a 130-kilogram spacecraft with a mid-wave infrared (MWIR) instrument capable of 3.5-meter resolution imaging. That instrument is now being tested on planes to ensure its performance before it is launched.
“They think space is difficult. “Infrared is difficult, which is why it hasn’t been used, especially not at 3.5-meter resolution,” Anthony Baker, CEO of Satellite Vu, said during a panel discussion at Euroconsult’s World Satellite Business Week here on December 16. “The camera, the sensor, and the way we picture have all seen breakthroughs.”
The thermal infrared imagery will be used by London-based Satellite Vu to help energy and environmental applications, like identifying emissions sources as well as buildings that waste heat. The information can be used to back up company commitments to meet environmental criteria, such as “net-zero” emissions targets.
“Everyone who proclaims net-zero does have the same issue: they have no idea what their carbon impact is right now, they have no idea where to invest their first dollars to improve things, and did that change actually make a difference in the long run?” “We know the answer,” Baker stated.
Six months after raising £3.6 million, Satellite Vu secured £15 million ($20 million) in a funding round sponsored by the Seraphim Space Investment Trust in October. The first satellite will be built with the help of this financing.
Baker explained that rather than building a satellite from scratch, his company chose to buy one from a well-known corporation like SSTL. “Like a lot of companies, we could have created this in our garage,” he added, “but we opted to go to someone skilled who can design something which will work the very first time.” “It’s not so big a technology demonstration as it is a risk that we believe has been entirely eliminated.” It’s more of a demonstrator for the market.”
He stated that the remaining 6 satellites in the constellation will be launched “as soon as practicable.” Next year, such satellites will be ordered independently. To maximize revisit times, Satellite Vu will divide the satellites into two planes. The corporation didn’t say when the satellites would be launched.