Perth-based startup LatConnect 60 (LC60), an Earth observation and data fusion company, is partnering with Queensland rocket company Gilmour Space Technologies, in a project to to build and launch the first microsatellite in a planned high-resolution hyperspectral imaging constellation.
LC60 CEO and founder Venkat Pillay, and Gilmour Space’s Adam Gilmour announced the deal at the 37th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo., an annual gathering of global space leaders, today.
LC60 is designing ‘smart’ satellites equipped with onboard AI-based computing technology that allows pre-processing of data, including radiometric and geometric correction, to occur in orbit before it’s downlinked to the ground.
The smart satellites, called the HyperSight 60, will be placed in 30-degree inclined orbits for frequent revisit data capture over the Earth’s equatorial and mid-latitude regions.
Under the agreement, Gilmour Space will develop the first 100-kilogram HyperSight 60 satellite on its G-class satellite bus (G-Sat), to be launched on Gilmour’s Eris rocket from the Bowen Orbital Spaceport in north Queensland.
The first HyperSight 60 microsatellite is planned for launch in Q4 2024 as the start of an eight-satellite constellation
LC60’s Venkat Pillay said that once the constellation is operational, an hourly revisit rate will be possible at mid-latitude locations between 30 degrees north and south in Australia, Asia, South America, and Africa.
This revisit, combined with the spectral bands collected in high- and medium-spatial resolution, will deliver timely, information-rich insights for agriculture, forestry, environmental, mineral/oil & gas, climate change, maritime, and defence applications.
“HyperSight 60 will deliver geospatial insights for mid-latitude areas at a level of detail and frequency not possible with other commercial remote sensing systems,” he said.
“The addition of Gilmour Space to the LC60 team contributes significantly to the future success of our ambitious plans. For HyperSight 60 and other planned LC60 constellations, our unique approach to onboard AI sensors, combined with advanced data fusion on the ground, will fill gaps in the insights that can be gleaned from current remote sensing systems.”
Gilmour Space CEO Adam Gilmour said: “This agreement would be our second G-class satellite mission on Eris, and we’re excited to be working with the pioneering team at LC60 to bring this significant capability to market.”
LC60 was founded in 2019 and owns exclusive rights to 80-centimetre imagery captured over Australia, with global access from a high-resolution multispectral satellite. The startup leverages this imagery along with other geospatial data sets to develop advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning-based data fusion and analysis algorithms for a variety of applications.
The company is now delivering insights to assist Southeast Asian palm and rubber plantations in improving productivity while enhancing environmental sustainability.