Earth imaging company Planet Labs announced new details of its commercial hyperspectral constellation, which is being brought to market through a public-private partnership with the Carbon Mapper Coalition. The future hyperspectral satellites will be named Tanager – after a colorful and visually diverse family of birds in Central and South America – and are designed to deliver hyperspectral data at a resolution of 30 meters with over 400 spectral bands.
In combination with the company’s existing medium (3-5 meter resolution, Dove) and high-resolution (less than 1 meter resolution, SkySat and future Pelican) constellations, the hyperspectral data provided by the Tanager satellites aims to complement and enhance its unprecedented dataset, says the company. Tanager is a family of birds who are threatened with endangerment if action to protect ecosystems and resources is not taken.
By helping to identify the spectral “signatures” of chemicals, materials, and processes across the globe, says the company, hyperspectral data can reveal otherwise hidden trends and could fill intelligence gaps and mitigate risks by exposing these challenges to decision makers. Hyperspectral imaging offers a vast array of spectral insights as it divides the spectrum across a multitude of spectral bands, enabling analysts to review phenomena in many differentiated colors that are typically beyond human visual perception.
The goal of the company’s hyperspectral offering is to help customers reveal social, environmental, and climate risks in unprecedented detail and demonstrates Planet’s commitment to preserve biodiversity and to accelerate action on climate change as a part of the Carbon Mapper Coalition. ASU’s Center for Global Discovery and Conservation Science will also play a key role in the Carbon Mapper mission performing additional scientific research on hyperspectral applications.
With plans to launch the first two Tanager satellites in 2023, says the company,hyperspectral data holds immense potential to support applications in industries like agriculture, defense & intelligence, energy, civil government, and mining. The genesis of the Carbon Mapper initiative came from a need to use high quality hyperspectral data to locate methane point source emitters at the facility scale to support mitigation action.
Beyond offering methane and CO2 signatures, the company’s commercial hyperspectral offering looks to provide customers with data for dozens of other environmental applications and indicators that are needed to closely monitor the health of the planet. The satellites’ hyperspectral sensor technology, pioneered by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL), will provide 30m resolution and a full spectral range of shortwave infrared and high-precision 5nm wide bands; this hyperspectral offering is designed to help organizations understand changes on land and at sea, from coastal zones to forests to urban areas and more.