A satellite designed and built by Open Cosmos to gather and monitor crucial agriculture data for Andalucía has passed three milestone reviews and is on track to launch this year.
The new satellite has been commissioned by the Junta de Andalucia through the Andalusian Agricultural and Fisheries Management Agency (AGAPA), co-financing by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) in the framework of the SmartFood project. SmartFood is one of the projects led by LifeWatch ERIC, a European Research Infrastructure Consortium providing e-Science research facilities to scientists to support society in addressing key planetary challenges. The
Now that the satellite has passed its Critical Design Review milestone, it will start assembly and readiness tests. As long as it passes this next stage, the satellite will be able to launch in 2023 on a Falcon 9 from SpaceX.
The new satellite is similar to MENUT, a 6U EO nanosatellite which Open Cosmos launched earlier this year. However, what sets the Andalusian nanosatellite apart is that the satellite will be combining EO technologies with an IoT radio which can communicate with sensors on the ground that are performing activities such as monitoring soil moisture or crops water content. The IoT radio can then take this information and make automatic decisions based on pre-agreed metrics, such as commanding the sensor to alter the percentage of water in the soil by watering it.
This edge computing takes place in real-time, removing the process of manual decision-making on the ground, and could have significant impacts on agricultural territory management on a large scale. Additionally by combining EO data with IoT, both acquired on the same platform, increases the effectiveness of small satellites, by making sense of the huge reams of data produced by the satellite and making it more actionable. This is all part of Open Cosmos’s mission to make critical space data more accessible to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.
The satellite can be part of the OpenConstellation, a global shared satellite infrastructure built and managed by Open Cosmos. Countries, institutions and companies are able to contribute their own satellites, which will create the world’s biggest mutualized constellation.
These satellites will make it easier for organizations to access satellite data to address challenges around the climate crisis, energy, natural resources and more without having to launch and manage their own satellite with Open Cosmos taking care of the whole end-to-end process. Subsequent Open Cosmos-built small satellites, contributed by leading space organizations in the UK, Spain and Portugal for OpenConstellation, are already being built and will be launched throughout 2023 and 2024.
Senior Mission Manager Jordi Castellvi, said, “We’re delighted that the Andalusian satellite has passed its milestone reviews, including the critical design review, and is now undergoing assembly and testing. This satellite is going to be extremely important in analyzing the effects of farming and the use of natural resources in the Andalusian region and the inclusion of an IoT radio which will communicate with sensors on the ground will be transformative in enabling better agricultural territory management. Our aim is to democratise access to space, particularly for local and regional governments and organisations, and this satellite will be a clear example of what can be achieved when critical space data is more readily available.”