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GEISAT Precursor successfully launched

SATLANTIS successfully launched its fourth mission, GEISAT Precursor for methane detection. Following the deployment of its previous satellite almost exactly one year ago, this latest satellite marks a new significant milestone for the Company and offers unique capabilities for monitoring methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas known for its impact on global warming.

On June 12th, 2023, the GEISAT Precursor was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of the SpaceX Transporter-8 mission, from the Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, subsequentely deployed to a 520km high Sun-synchronous orbit.

On launch night, following a countdown and an uneventful lift-off, the Falcon 9 rocket reached its planned orbit, after which it continued to deploy all the SmallSats of the rideshare for 25 minutes at over 27,500 km/h speed. GEISAT Precursor successfully separated from the upper stage of the rocket 1 hour and 47 seconds after the start of the launch, as planned.

The SATLANTIS team livestreamed the launch on its website and enthusiastically celebrated the crucial satellite separation milestone, marking the momentous transition point between SpaceX’s successful mission and the start of the satellite’s real mission.

GEISAT Precursor is the first satellite of the GEISAT Constellation, which aims to provide unprecedented capabilities for methane measurements, a comprehensive solution for methane emissions detection, point source identification, and quantification. SATLANTIS provides a scientific-grade payload and final data products, enabling accurate and detailed analysis of methane emissions.

GEISAT Precursor builds on the success of its predecessor, URDANETA-ARMSAT1, which has a 2m multispectral resolution and extends the spectrum to include SWIR infrared bands.

This small satellite is a CubeSat, embarking the iSIM-90 optical instrument for Earth Observation, featuring two optical channels – one for visible and near infrared and the other for the SWIR spectrum. It offers a resolution of 2m in visible and near infrared bands and it distinguishes between emission sources that may be in close proximity with an accuracy of up to 6m in SWIR bands, with a total of 10 bands and a swath of up to 14km at 500km altitude. It has a size of 20cm x 20cm x 40cm, deployable solar panels, and a mass of 21kg, designed for a minimum nominal lifetime of four years.

After having passed a series of field experiments including flight tests, and a technology and calibration exhaustive process performed in conjunction with the European Space Agency, Enagás and Encino, the satellite has been smoothly integrated in the deployer in late May and was then shipped to the launch site to be integrated in the Falcon 9 rocket.

The key features of the GEISAT Precursor Mission include:

  • Simultaneous VNIR & SWIR detection : the satellite offers the ability to detect methane emissions using both visible and infrared spectra, expanding the spectral capabilities and improving the detection threshold;
  • Very high spatial resolution for accurate data capture,
  • Environmental Monitoring Solutions: the mission supports complete environmental monitoring, contributing to the understanding and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The methane End-to-End Solution is a turnkey solution composed of upstream, downstream and data centre.

SATLANTIS has expanded its offerings to include a remote-sensing solution for detecting and quantifying methane emissions and with the GEISAT Constellation, the Company plans to launch one additional CubeSat and two MicroSats dedicated to CH4/GHG and the environment between the end of this year and the end of 2024. With high spatio-temporal resolution and simultaneous geolocation of source emitters, these satellites will play a crucial role in monitoring and quantifying methane emissions in the Oil & Gas industry.

SATLANTIS, which has recently reached a significant milestone of employing 100 individuals across locations in Bilbao, Florida, and SuperSharp in Cambridge, aims to lead the way in Earth Observation technologies, pushing for higher precision and addressing the pressing need for methane emissions monitoring to improve environmental impact.