The first microsatellite to be manufactured in South Africa since 2009 is about to be launched. Developed by local company Dragonfly Aerospace, EOS SAT-1 is due to be launched at Cape Canaveral as part of SpaceX’s Transporter-6 on Monday evening, local time.
The low Earth orbit (LEO) EOS SAT-1 is the first of a seven-satellite constellation for customer EOSDA (EOS Data Analytics), a global provider of satellite analytics solutions in agriculture and forestry. The remaining six will be deployed over the next three years.
Today’s technologies permit equipping even a lightweight satellite with all the necessary hardware to meet the needs for high-resolution data generation. Coverage capabilities of small satellite constellations increase with the number of satellites. EOSDA has calculated that seven satellites will be ideal for its goals.
Thus the constellation will consist of seven small (178 kg) satellites flying above the sun-illuminated section of the Earth 50% of the time. By following a low Earth sun-synchronous orbit with constant lighting conditions, satellites can make high-quality imagery.
EOS SAT, as it is known, is described as the world’s first agriculture-focused satellite constellation, providing the agriculture and forestry industry with high-quality data to support efficient and sustainable practices.
Images obtained from Dragonfly’s EOS SAT-1 will deliver valuable information for harvest monitoring, application mapping, seasonal planning and assessments that analyse information such as soil moisture, yield prediction and biomass levels.