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May 23rd, 2024
Satellite-Based Sensors Provide Valuable Data for Pipeline Monitoring, Crop Production, and More

ISS National Lab Plays Key Role in Advancing Startup’s Sensor Technology

 

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (FL) – Using satellite-based hyperspectral sensors that can capture images of Earth beyond the visible light we can see with our eyes, startup Orbital Sidekick provides valuable global monitoring services to customers around the world. So far, the company has launched five commercial satellites, two of which went up in March, and has plans to launch a sixth later this year. Co-founder and CEO Dan Katz attributes much of the company’s success to leveraging the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory to test its new sensor technology.

Hyperspectral imaging can reveal the presence of specific chemicals and materials in an area, providing important insights into things like pipeline leaks, crop health, wildfire risk, and materials for mining. To test its new hyperspectral sensor technology, Orbital Sidekick launched its sensor to the ISS, where it was installed on the Nanoracks External Platform (NREP) mounted to the exterior of the orbiting laboratory.

An article in the latest issue of Upward, official magazine of the ISS National Lab, tells the story of Orbital Sidekick and what’s possible through research and technology development on the space station. Katz commented on the value of the company’s ISS research in Upward, saying, “It allowed us to focus our resources on what’s really driving value for our company, which is our intelligence platform, analytics engine, and product development for our end user—that’s what’s important for our commercialization effort. The mission was wildly successful and really set the table for everything we’re doing today with our commercial satellites.”

Following its ISS National Lab-sponsored investigation, Orbital Sidekick raised nearly $50 million in investment dollars and signed more than a dozen large energy companies for pipeline monitoring services. The company plans to expand its satellite constellation to include 14 satellites, allowing Orbital Sidekick to monitor millions of miles of pipeline around the globe on a weekly basis.

See how Orbital Sidekick’s space station research was a springboard for the company’s success in the Upward feature, “Sensors, Satellites, and Sidekicks.”

About the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory:

The International Space Station (ISS) is a one-of-a-kind laboratory that enables research and technology development not possible on Earth. As a public service enterprise, the ISS National Laboratory® allows researchers to leverage this multiuser facility to improve quality of life on Earth, mature space-based business models, advance science literacy in the future workforce, and expand a sustainable and scalable market in low Earth orbit. Through this orbiting national laboratory, research resources on the ISS are available to support non-NASA science, technology, and education initiatives from U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space™ (CASIS™) manages the ISS National Lab, under Cooperative Agreement with NASA, facilitating access to its permanent microgravity research environment, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied conditions of space. To learn more about the ISS National Lab, visit our website.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, CASIS accepts corporate and individual donations to help advance science in space for the benefit of humanity. For more information, visit our donations page