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£81m commitment to access ‘The World’s Thermometer’

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UK space and climate tech company Satellite Vu has secured £81 million worth of purchase options from thirty companies for their Early Access Programme (EAP).

  • Satellite Vu secures £81 million worth of purchase options from thirty companies for their Early Access Programme (EAP).

  • Industry applications range from Defence and Intelligence, Industrial Activity Monitoring, Built Environment and Agriculture.

  • All are committed to harnessing the unique power of infrared mapping technology to develop sustainable solutions and decarbonisation needs.

Founded to bring satellite technology to address global challenges, Satellite Vu will be able to monitor the temperature of any building on the planet in near real-time using a new mid-wave infrared camera.

Such images can provide useful insights into a broad range of issues, ranging from  economic activity, to energy efficiency and disaster response, monitoring the energy efficiency of buildings, the spread of wildfires, the urban heat island effect, and water pollution.

Satellite Vu says that it aims to be the ‘Earth’s thermometer from space’ and founder and chief executive Anthony Baker said: “This commitment to use thermal imaging and geospatial data across the globe highlights the need for measurable impact and real appetite to drive change across industries. We are committed to scaling our capacity to meet the market demand for our product and are excited to work closely with these businesses who are proactively readying themselves for the start of our commercial service via our first spacecraft.”

Accurate and granular data is going to play a central role in effectively addressing climate change, and accelerating decarbonisation. Satellite Vu says that, through the commitment to their EAP, it is on track to be the first-to-market with a space-based solution that will offer the capabilities that the government  and commercial sector require to take action on the environmental impact  modern life is making on the planet.

When will services commence?

Satellite Vu is due to launch their first spacecraft in June 2023, and ahead of this opened their Early Access Programme to provide customers and partners with preferred access to their imagery products; as well as the opportunity to secure valuable capacity on the inaugural satellite.

Paul Bate, chief executive at the UK Space Agency: “This £81 million commitment from 30 companies for the thermal imaging Early Access Programme is an impressive achievement for Satellite Vu, and a brilliant example of how the UK Space Agency catalyses investment into UK science and technology.”

“Having supported this project over the last three years, it’s very good to see companies from a wide range of sectors – from farming and map production to defence and various financial operations – recognising the potential of Satellite Vu’s mid-wave infrared satellite imagery to enhance so many aspects of our lives, and to help us protect our planet.”

What industries will the satellite imagery serve?

The EAP has now onboarded thirty businesses with purchase options from customers from a diverse range of industries and geographical regions including data analytics group Kayrros, Ordnance Survey and the Japan Space Imaging Corporation agreement announced in 2022.

Accurate geospatial data provides an edge in global strategic planning and risk mitigation. Kayrros and Earthi are all focused on increasing transparency through geospatial insight – applying a combination of multiple data streams, providing unique, tailored intelligence to multiple market sectors, highlighting the versatility of satellite imagery.

These customers will harness the power of mid-wave infrared satellite imagery to monitor sites of strategic interest, assessing global energy levels and industrial activity output, providing the information advantage for decision makers across government, defence, climate finance, asset management, trading, investment, and operation sectors.

Antoine Rostand, Co-founder and President, Kayrros said: “We’re excited to be an early adopter of SatelliteVu’s powerful high-resolution thermal data and add it to our toolkit. The advanced technology and data from Satellite Vu will support us as we continue to expand our real-time monitoring of human and industrial activity and its impact on the planet. By applying AI and data fusion to SatelliteVu’s thermal imagery, we are confident that we will expand the scope and refine the granularity of actionable data, enabling companies and regulators to make more informed decisions towards reaching their climate goals.”

According to a statement from Satellite Vu, the commitment from a global range of players highlights the need for and efficient and scalable means of providing infrared data which lifts the lid on thermal activity around the world.

Are there particular uses for the service?

There appears to be a focus on the monitoring of the Built Environment, addressing the Urban Heat Island effect, a phenomenon coined in response to the enormity of industrial and residential heat that is being produced globally.

Those on the EAP with a primary product application in this area include Nexqt, Climate Engine and the Office of Planetary Observation. Using thermal data, Satellite Vu can provide a pattern of life thermal index of commercial and residential buildings.

Combined with energy consumption and other information the Satellite Vu thermal index will provide an indication to these businesses of how efficient the structure is, identify where heat is being wasted and guide where energy improvement retrofit investments will have the biggest impact.

Democratisation of data access

The overall ambition of this Early Access Programme is to democratise Earth observation, and Satellite Vu have partnered with businesses like SkyFi to do just this. SkyFi provides on-demand satellite imagery to anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer using a purpose built platform allowing anyone to start exploring their library of Existing Images or to order a new satellite image.

The aim of opening up Satellite Vu’s high-resolution technology is to provide a new way to analyse activity, detect changes and anomalies. As well as images, Satellite Vu will provide 60 second videos, which enables the visualisation of dynamic changes over time and build-up of a pattern of life.

This could also provide a significant role in agricultural monitoring applications – something that Plant Stress Management, Crop Protection Agritech company, farmAIr is exploring through the EAP.

More than buildings and agriculture, uses include defence

While the technology provides energy, building, and water sanitation insights to help mitigate man-made inefficiencies, it can also be used in a wide array of defence and intelligence applications. For Suhora and HEO Robotics who are part of the EAP, the primary application of the technology will be to deliver essential insights on space assets to government and defence agencies through innovation in spatial science.

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