Bengaluru headquartered space technology startup Pixxel on Thursday said it has signed an agreement with Italian firm Leaf Space for launching the first of its 24 earth imagery satellites in July next year.

Through this agreement, Leaf Space will provide the support service up to one pass per orbit to the satellite in sun-synchronous orbit. The agreement also facilitates future mission support for Pixxel's planned constellation.

Pixxel's constellation of nano-satellites will be delivered into orbit as passengers on other rocket launch missions. The images gathered by these nano-satellites provide up-to-date information relevant to climate monitoring, crop yield prediction, urban planning, and disaster response.

"We are very excited to partner with Leaf Space for the ground segment support to our first satellite. This is an exciting step forward for our team as we ready for our first launch next year," Pixxel CEO Awais Ahmed said in a statement.

Pixxel and Leaf Space teams sigining service agreement for the ground segment support of the Pixxel's first mission

In a statement, Leaf Space CEO Jonata Puglia said,"It is very satisfying for us at Leaf Space to be the primary player for the ground segment of Pixxel's mission". Based out of Lomazzo in Italy, Leaf Space is creating satellite telecommunications as-a-service, in order to assist clients with their satellite operations by managing and procuring the entire ground segment system through a complete set of services, including time-shared access to ground, customize telecommunication solutions, ground station procurement, consultancy and backup services.

Uplink and downlink service for the mission will be provided using VHF, UHF and S-Band frequencies. The satellite is set to be launched on a Soyuz rocket in July 2020.

"Over the course of the next three years, we plan to deploy the first phase of our constellation consisting of 24 satellites to provide daily coverage. As we focus on development of the satellite constellation in the coming years, we will continue to partner with global ground station providers like Leaf Space to receive this data," Pixxel CTO Kshitij Khandelwal said.

The one of its kind space tech startup in India aims to create a one-stop solution for real-time, universally accessible, high-resolution information about any location on the globe.

Founded in 2018, Pixxel is aiming to build a constellation of 24 earth imaging small satellites that will provide global coverage every 24 hours.

Notably, Pixxel has signed a launch contract with GK Launch Services for its first tech demo mission to be launched in 2020 on GK-operated Soyuz-2 mission. The contract was arranged with the support of Precious Payload’s launch booking platform. Soyuz is a series of Russian spacecraft initiallu designed for the Soviet space program by the Korolev Design Bureau in the 1960s that remains in service today.

In July this year, Pixxel had raised pre-seed round of funding from growX Ventures and other prominent angels such as Raju Reddy, Dileep Nath, Pawan Sarda, and others.

Pixxel, which is an alumnus of the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator, 2019, also aims to work for Indian agriculture sector, that accounts for 18% of India’s GDP, by using Artificial Intelligence (AI), with its universally accessible, high-resolution information received from its constellations of ultra-small, ultra-cheap, regularly updated nanosatellites.

Few weeks back, Maharashtra state government has unveiled its plans of modernizing and making exhaustive use of drone and satellite images, in order to alleviate agricultural hazards and provide farmers and policymakers, the authority the useful analyzed information to plan their moves accordingly. Maharashtra will be employing Artificial Intelligence (AI) along with the satellite images, based on mining data together from the Maharashtra Remote Sensing Application Centre (MRSAC) and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) in Hyderabad.

~ With Inputs from PTI

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