Satellite constellation to support sustainable agriculture
South African firm Dragonfly Aerospace has launched the initial satellite of what it says is the world’s first agriculture-focused satellite constellation, set to provide the agriculture and forestry industry with high-quality data to support efficient and sustainable practices.
EOS SAT-1, the first imaging satellite to be built by Dragonfly Aerospace, was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, as part of the Transporter-6 mission.
The satellite is the first of a seven-satellite constellation in low Earth orbit for customer Earth Observation System Data Analytics (EOSDA). The remaining six satellites of the constellation will be deployed over the next three years.
Images obtained from EOS SAT-1 will deliver valuable information for harvest monitoring, application mapping, seasonal planning and assessments that analyse information such as soil moisture, yield prediction and biomass levels. This data will support growers with reducing carbon dioxide emissions and help them to develop sustainable agricultural methods.
Such information will have important environmental benefits for the planet and help prevent natural habitats from being diminished for crop growth and maintain biodiversity.
Equipped with two DragonEye electro-optical imagers, EOS SAT-1 will provide 44km swath panchromatic and multispectral imagery across 11 spectral bands at close to 1m resolution – making it one of the most capable imaging satellites in low earth orbit.
EOS SAT-1 is equipped with two electro-optical imagers and will provide multispectral imagery across 11 spectral bands at close to 1m resolution (Image: Dragonfly Aerospace)
Bryan Dean, CEO and Co-founder of Dragonfly Aerospace, said: “This is a key moment for Dragonfly Aerospace, and we are thrilled to be delivering EOS SAT-1 with a number of firsts – the first imaging satellite designed and built by Dragonfly, the first microsatellite to be manufactured in South Africa since 2009, the first satellite of the EOS SAT constellation and the first agri-focused constellation in space. This has been an important project for our whole team and has allowed us to demonstrate our capabilities, not just in producing high-performance electro-optical imagers, but in designing and manufacturing a full imaging satellite system.”
The EOS SAT-1 satellite separated from the launch vehicle as planned and began transmitting a signal to the mission control centre on Earth. The process of satellite calibration and testing of all onboard units is underway.