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Contxto – Today two additional twinkles were added to the night sky thanks to Argentinian spacetech startup, Satellogic. Their names are Sophie (after mathematician and physicist, Sophie Germain) and Marie (Marie Curie, the only double Nobel prize winner so far). They took to the skies on January 15.
The successful launch means that the Argentinian company now has a fleet of 10 satellites in orbit. However, this is just a smattering of the over 80 plus satellites it wants to shoot into the sky, aided by the US$50 million-worth of funding recently raised by the company.
The purpose of these two new satellites is rather down to Earth, for these spacecraft will be helping observe our planet’s surface. Each is equipped with cameras. One, a meter long and multispectral (that is, it is able to see all the colors of the rainbow the human eye can see and more). And the other is hyperspectral (imaging across the electromagnetic spectrum) and able to get a resolution of 30 meters on the ground.
Think about that, imagine taking a selfie so good that you are able to see the detail of every centimeter with a selfie-stick 100 km long. (Just joking; don’t use selfie-sticks).
All this info is then beamed back to us so as to continue to better the quality, resolution, and variety of information we get about the pale blue dot we inhabit.
Reach for the sky
It was a truly transnational operation—I suppose it would have to be, but still.
This Argentinian space company set off from a Chinese launch site, on a Chinese rocket—which of course makes sense because 60 percent of its recent funding came from the Chinese investors at Tencent. The other 40 came from Brazil’s Pitanga.
After blastoff, first contact post-launch was made 38 minutes after takeoff from a base in Antarctica and then Svalbard, with Russian equipment. For its part, much of Satellogic’s tech was crafted at their development facilities in Uruguay. A global, but also a distinctly pan-Latin American effort.
Indeed, Satellogic, in more ways than one, is putting the region on the map.