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Orbital Sidekick announces upcoming launch of its most powerful satellite: Aurora
Orbital Sidekick (OSK) has announced the upcoming launch of its newest and most powerful hyperspectral imaging satellite: “Aurora.” Aurora leverages OSK’s previous experience collecting and analyzing hyperspectral data to provide action-oriented insights on the world around us, with a core focus on sustainability. The Aurora satellite will serve OSK’s customers in the energy, mining, and defense sectors, including expanding contracts and pilot program opportunities for oil and gas pipeline monitoring & methane mapping, clean energy resource exploration, sustainable mining practices, and wildfire risk mitigation.
OSK’s technology will help advance safety efforts for the damage prevention industry, as employing hyperspectral imagery will allow oil and gas facility owners and operators to remotely detect small hydrocarbon leaks and physical threats — such as soil disturbances — to pipeline rights of way. As often as daily, OSK will analyze pipeline and infrastructure data. The technology can also be used in lieu of aerial patrol for compliance with Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) pipeline monitoring regulations, and will soon be available worldwide at a cost that rivals traditional visual aerial patrol — making it a cost-effective and accessible means for routine data gathering and pipeline stewardship. Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the national nonprofit trade association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them and their communities, will join OSK for the Cape Canaveral launch on June 25.
The Orbital Sidekick Aurora Satellite is a 30-kilogram precursor to the six 100-kilogram ESPA class GHOSt satellites scheduled for launch in 2022. Seattle-based launch services provider Spaceflight will be coordinating the launch with a total of 36 payloads onboard the SpaceX Transporter-2 rideshare mission, taking place June 25, 2021 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida.
Aurora will capture more than 450 spectral bands in the visible to shortwave infrared light spectrum (400 to 2500 nm) with a pixel size of approximately 30 meters, making it the highest resolution commercial hyperspectral imagery available to date.