For a long time, thermal imaging technologies have been used in a variety of applications and industries to rapidly and effectively find anomalies and weak points. The non-destructive testing of materials and components, while they are in use, makes these technologies perfect for applications such as production monitoring. Consequently, the issue can be identified before it leads to failure or the risk of a fire.
Thermal imaging places a lot of emphasis on image resolution. The specifics are essential when utilizing thermography to find leaks, cold bridges, mildew, or overheated components. Only images with a resolution of at least 160 by 120 pixels can see the majority of these elements. The precision of measuring increases with increased resolution since the technology employs each pixel as a point of measurement. Accurate measurements are essential for spotting anomalies earlier and preventing avoidable losses for both you and the customer. Many companies have been on a mission of having the most sophisticated satellites for this purpose.
A second satellite has been ordered by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) for the thermal imaging constellation that Satellite Vu, a British Earth observation startup, is planning. According to Satellite Vu, who ordered the satellite from the U.K.-based SSTL on July 21, it is a duplicate of the one it purchased last year and will increase the amount of information it can gather for applications related to combating climate change and identifying buildings that waste heat.
The two satellites are modeled on SSTL’s DarkCarb design weighing 130-kilogram, which does carry mid-wave infrared (MWIR) equipment for obtaining thermal imaging with a resolution of 3.5 meters. In the first quarter of the year 2023, a SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter rideshare mission is scheduled to launch the first of 7 planned satellites. A prior launch date for the satellite was set for the 4th quarter of 2022.
The British business anticipates that its second satellite will launch in the first few months of 2024. The remaining satellites’ timeline was not specified. Anthony Baker, founder and CEO of Satellite Vu, asserted in a statement that “the purchase of second satellite is motivated by market demand for extra capacity to tackle urgent customer needs and investors ’ confidence in the crew to speed the execution of the firm business plan.”
With financing from the UK Space Agency’s NSIP (National Space Innovation Programme), Satellite Vu stated that it has been attempting to de-risk the technology. To date, the business has secured $24 million (£20 million) in venture and grants money, including an investment disclosed in March from In-Q-Tel and Lockheed Martin, both based in the United States.
According to Satellite Vu, a building’s heat output might be measured by the entire constellation several times daily. This would provide the business the chance to offer recommendations for improving the built environment’s efficiency, which is said to be responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions.
Germany’s OroraTech and Washington’s Hydrosat are two further businesses working on thermal photography constellations. Wildfires are becoming more common as a result of climate change, and advancements in satellite-based thermal imagery technologies are aiding in their prevention and suppression.