Infrared sat companies OroraTech, ConstelIR position up

Infrared imaging satellites will be joining other Earth Observation constellations in the near future, adding another layer of data to the petabytes of information being collected by optical, radar, and hyperspectral spacecraft today.  OroraTech has booked its first flight to orbit while ConstelIR will be supplying its data to hyperspectral data aggregator ScanWorld.

German-based OroraTech will use Munich-headquartered launch services firm Isar Aerospace to put its fleet of satellites into orbit, with sun synchronous launches scheduled between 2022 and 2026. The agreement includes the launch of “more than ten” small satellites and an option to extend the service agreement to OroraTech’s “hundreds of satellites” final constellation.

“In Isar Aerospace we have found a flexible laul nch service provider enabling us to significantly improve global wildfire detection compared to traditional ride-sharing options which are tight to specific orbits,” Thomas Grübler, Co-Founder and CEO at OroraTech. “We are looking forward to further drive innovation in the space ecosystem and offer the best service to tackle the global wildfire and climate crisis.”

Both companies have their origins at the Technical University of Munich, so no big surprise OroraTech will use Isar to put things into orbit.

OroraTech’s satellite includes a patent-pending thermal imager optimized for cubesat use and real-time processing of data onboard the satellite.  The company says it can cut the delay from fire detection to the end-user from hours to minutes by transferring the information via relay network.  OroraTech says the technology will be used for other applications such as urban heat monitoring, severe weather modeling, and gas flare tracking.

Meanwhile, also-German-based ConstelIR and Beligum-based ScanWorld will combine their resptive thermal infrared and hyperspectral imagery expertise for delivering high-value EO data for sustainable agricultural applications.  ConstelIR is pioneering the use of thermal IR for high precision agriculture, crop health monitoring, and sustainable resource management, using surface temperature as a key indicator for crop water need.

“This partnership increases our complementarity with large institutional missions such as the Copernicus program in Europe or the Surface Biology and Geology System at NASA in the United States”, says Max Gulde, CEO of ConstellR, “thus enabling us to deliver an even better service to our customers in agriculture and beyond. In fact, I believe that what we are building here will be a game changer for all ESG related monitoring activities and enable a global quantification of key metrics with unprecedented accuracy, precision, and timeliness.”

ScanWorld uses hyperspectral imaging to collect data across a large number of wavelengths, enabling the detection of very small changes in plant growth, allowing the measurement of proteins and identification of diseases to support agriculture and forestry management.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two firms will include work on the harmonization and interoperability of data products, development of joint data products and services, and the potential to work together on joint commercial projects.

Doug Mohney

Doug Mohney, a principal at Cidera Analytics, has been working and writing about IT and satellite industries for over 20 years. His real world experience including stints at two start-ups, a commercial internet service provider that went public in 1997 for $150 million and a satellite internet broadband company. Follow him on Twitter at DougonTech or contact him at dmohney139 (at) gmail (dot) com.

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