Satellogic uses proprietary design to become the first company to launch smallsats with hyperspectral cameras

May 26, 2020 | Case Study

Small satellites (smallsats) and hyperspectral imaging are two major technology innovations in satellite imaging that have enabled many applications in different industries. However, they didn't use to work hand in hand because smallsats, as their name suggest, have mass restrictions of 500 kg, while hyperspectral cameras are bulky and consume a lot of electrical power and storage spaces. As a result, hyperspectral cameras were used only in large traditional satellites and were affordable only to governments and large organizations like NASA and ESA. This changed in May 2016, when Argentine startup Satellogic launched two commercial smallsats, Fresco and Batata, both equipped with hyperspectral cameras. As the first company able to accomplish this, Satellogic has attracted several government contracts and financial backing from large investors including Tencent and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). The company has 10 satellites in orbit and plans to launch 11 more in 2020.