Space data company Pixxel sets up space craft manufacturing facility in Bengaluru

Space data company Pixxel has set up its space craft manufacturing facility in Bengaluru. The company is building a constellation of the world’s highest-resolution hyperspectral earth imaging satellites and the analytical tools to mine insights from the data. The constellation will aim to provide daily global coverage and help detect, monitor, and predict global phenomena across agriculture, mining, environment and energy use cases.

The facility was inaugurated by ISRO Chairman S. Somanath who lauded the efforts being put in by Pixxel. “The space sector is something very tough in terms of technology, market penetration, profitability etc. Coming to this sector and creating an impact is really difficult as companies working in this sector require resilience. Building satellites is one thing but building a niche or specialisation for a company over a period of time is something that is challenging,” said Somanath during the inauguration of the facility. 

Somanath further added that Pixxel is playing an important role in the space ecosystem in the country as they are into building satellites, testing them, commissioning them, launching them and getting the data and adding value to that data. He said that the company was also playing a major role in bringing satellite manufacturing technology to India. 

Pixxel has already deployed three satellites ever since its inception and has customers such as British Petroleum, the Ministry of Agriculture in India, and the National Reconnaissance Office in the US for the space data that is generated through them. Pixxel’s satellites specialise in Hyperspectral imaging that captures information across 100s of spectral bands stretching beyond the visible spectrum into the infrared. By generating voluminous data sets capable of classifying unique spectral signatures for surface materials, hyperspectral imagery unearths insights that are invisible to existing satellite sensors. The company plans to launch six satellites as part of the Firefly constellation by mid of this year (2024). The company also plans to launch eighteen more satellites by 2025. 

“The inauguration of the new facility will bolster our mission to build a health monitor for the planet. By increasing our capacity to build more satellites, we will deliver even more critical data to our customers faster so they can make informed decisions and address the needs of key industries such as agriculture, energy, forestry, and environmental monitoring,” said Awais Ahmed, CEO, Pixxel. 

At full capacity, the facility is equipped to handle more than twenty satellites simultaneously that can be turned around within a timeframe of six months, making a total capacity of forty large satellites per year possible. The facility is designed, with two modern clean rooms of ISO Class 7 and ISO Class 8 that safeguard against contaminants that could impair satellite functionality during the satellite assembly and integration process. Additionally, it also houses labs for advanced camera integration, electronics R&D, and electrical assembly; along with a mechanical workshop, a mission control room, and an office space that can accommodate more than 200 employees. 

The new facility, spans more than 30,000 sq ft, consolidates all satellite manufacturing services, providing a complete Spacecraft Assembly, Integration, and Testing (AIT) facility under one roof. The facility has a streamlined production process from concept to launch and will help Pixxel to design satellites from scratch, manufactured, integrated, and tested for launch conditions before being shipped to the launch site. 

Pixxel has worked with organisations such as the Indian Space Research Organization, NASA JPL, and SpaceX amongst other space companies. The organisation is backed by Google, Lightspeed, Radical Ventures, Relativity’s Jordan Noone, Seraphim Capital, Ryan Johnson, Blume Ventures, Sparta LLC and Accenture among others.