Indian space startup Pixxel won’t be launching its satellite on February 28

Indian space startup Pixxel won’t be launching its satellite on February 28
The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)-C51 scheduled to take off on February 28ISRO
  • The Indian space startup Pixxel has announced that it won’t be launching its first satellite called Anand on February 28.
  • The launch of the satellite has been delayed due to ‘certain software issues’, according to the Bengaluru-based satellite imaging startup.
  • Led by Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal, Pixxel will be reevaluating its satellite software over the next few weeks as it looks for the closest upcoming launch opportunity.
Indian space startup Pixxel was poised to launch its first satellite — Anand — aboard the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C51 on February 28.

However, due to ‘certain software issues’ the much anticipated satellite will no longer be a part of the payload that is set to include a picture of Prime Minister Modi, the Bhagavad Gita, and the names of 25,000 individuals.

“It did not make sense to rush a satellite to launch in which we do not have complete confidence at this time,” said the two-year old start up in a statement.

Pixxel, founded by Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal, has decided to wait for a few weeks, re-evaluate the satellite software and test it rigorously while looking for the next closest launch opportunity.

What was Pixxel’s first satellite aiming for?
Anand is a part of Pixxel’s Firefly fleet of earth observation satellites. The Firefly fleet is a constellation of satellites that Pixxel is aiming to deploy in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to monitor the planet around the clock.

The data it collects will help organisations globally to detect, monitor and predict global phenomena in real-time.

“The data from Pixxel’s satellite will be used to solve some of humanity’s most pressing problems today such as flagging pest infestations and crop diseases in time, detecting forest fires early, talking air and water pollution levels, detecting oil spills and gas leaks and mapping large scale geological changes among other things,” said Awais in a statement.

The Bengaluru-based satellite imaging startup had joined hands with NewsSpace India Limited (NSIL) — the commercial arm of ISRO — after the Modi administration announced new space reforms in 2020.

The reforms made way for private players to work with ISRO to take the Indian space sector to the next level.

What will the PSLV-C51 be carrying into space?
Even though Anand will no longer be a part of the upcoming launch, ISRO’s PSLV C-51 will still be carrying the US’ Amazonia-1 and 20 co-passenger satellites on February 28.

Indian space startup Pixxel won’t be launching its satellite on February 28
PSLV-C51 preparing for launch at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, Andhra PradeshISRO

The rocket is scheduled to take off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at around 10:23 am Indian Standard Time (IST).

Amazonia-1 is the first dedicated commercial mission of NSIL.

The other 20 co-passengers includes ISRO INS-2TD satellite, Satish Dhawan Sat from Space Kidz India — which will have a picture of Modi, the Bhagavad Gita and the names of 25,000 individuals — and three UNITYsats from the consortium of three Indian academic institutions.

The other fifteen satellites will be from NSIL.

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