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HORACIO successfully launched

On March, 4th, 2024, SATLANTIS launched HORACIO, currently its sixth Earth Observation mission and third full-solution satellite, equipped with its own state-of-the-art high-resolution optical system, with visible, infrared, and agility capabilities, designed for a multitude of Earth Observation applications.

The launch took place on Monday, March 4th at 23:05 (local time in Spain) from California, and after 2:27:31 on the rocket, at 1:32:31 AM (CET), the satellite was successfully deployed and entered nominal orbit.

HORACIO traveled aboard SpaceX’s Transporter-10 mission on a Falcon9 rocket, a ride-share flight along with other satellites to a heliosynchronous orbit 520-590 km above Earth. The launch took place from the Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg (Space Force Base) in California.

It was possible to follow the launch via streaming from SATLANTIS’ website; the entire Team – including press and authorities – gathered to attend the event at the University of the Basque Country Campus (Leioa), SATLANTIS’s main headquarters.

Following the success of URDANETA-ARMSAT1 and GEISAT P., HORACIO joins the family of the most advanced CubeSats worldwide, alongside two other satellites currently under construction. It builds on the great success of its predecessors, already contracted by EU governments and the Oil&Gas sector.

HORACIO, whose name is in honor of the Basque entrepreneur Horacio Echevarrieta who left his mark on the industry in Euskadi, is a 16U CubeSat with a high-resolution camera, the iSIM-90, which offers simultaneous coverage in the visible and near-infrared (NIR and SWIR) spectra, a resolution of up to 2m, a swath of 14km, 4 bands in the visible and 6 in the infrared.

The HORACIO mission represents a significant advancement for SATLANTIS in continuing to lead Earth Observation technologies. It is a comprehensive fast-track mission that enables a wide range of applications, infrastructure surveillance, unique capabilities for monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane detection and quantification, food security, coastline and border recognition, among others.

“Our focus on agility and smart maneuvers is unique in the market and it is based on deep knowledge of image processing and its relationship with orthorectification, high precision georeferencing, multiband radiometric calibration, and operation from our multisatellite control center. We optimize data downlink through integrated Artificial Intelligence techniques in the download point network, from the North Pole to Australia,” says Juan Tomás Hernani, CEO of SATLANTIS. “We can confidently say that HORACIO is the most powerful and impactful 16U Earth Observation CubeSat in the market” concludes Hernani.

Aitor Conde, CTO at SATLANTIS, commented that “HORACIO is our third satellite in orbit, but as it could not be otherwise, it is an evolution of our previous satellites, with greater image acquisition capacity, wider swath, and will spend twice as much time in orbit as in previous missions. We expect to take advantage of this satellite for the next 10 years. The launch was nominal and without surprises, yet, as always, very exciting. Now the satellite is performing its first operations, deploying solar panels and antennas, and we hope to obtain the first images after the satellite’s setup, which will occur in less than a week.”

Satellite’s Features:

  • The satellite has a 30 Gbit/second brain called SPOCK, a unique technology from SATLANTIS to flexibly process up to 52 images per second depending on the amount of available light.
  • The “10-band data blend” or spectral data fusion uses the visible to accurately georeference within a few meters on the ground and overlay infrared bands from the same capture, providing a major advance for methane detection or agriculture.
  • Its data are integrated into a control center located in Bilbao, equipped with the most modern software architecture on the market, with its processing engines in the cloud. The client would have a twin center for the exploitation of these images through various application verticals.
  • The satellite is equipped with advanced science for the detection of methane plumes with high precision, through a detection and quantification model developed over the past year.
  • The resolution of up to 2m can be multiplied through uses of Artificial Intelligence developed in collaboration with the University of Florida and its supercomputer consisting of over 1100 NVIDIA GPUs called HiPerGator AI.

On this occasion, at SATLANTIS’ Headquarters in Leioa was held a small event, broadcasting  the launch of HORACIO accompanied by distinguished speakers: Juan Tomás Hernani, CEO of SATLANTIS; SATLANTIS Chairman, Jean-Jacques Dordain; Cristina Garmendia, Honorary President of SATLANTIS; Juan Carlos Cortés, Director of Programs and Industry at the Spanish Space Agency (AEE), among others. SATLANTIS Group’s representatives  also participated Aitor Moriñigo, CEO of SATLANTIS LLC, and Marco Gomez-Jenkins, CEO of SuperSharp (UK). Technical explanations of the launch were provided by SATLANTIS CTO Aitor Conde and Jon Paul Babio, Mission Manager, during the live connection with SpaceX, in addition to other interventions from various company profiles (image processing, electronics, software, etc.).