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Munich, June 20, 2022 – Munich-based NewSpace intelligence startup OroraTech has successfully achieved the mission goals for FOREST-1, its first satellite dedicated to environmental monitoring, specifically for wildfire detection. The satellite is the first of its kind to combine a thermal, mid-infrared and RGB camera into a compact design that does not require cooling. It also operates a graphics processing unit (GPU) in space which is used to process the data on-orbit and includes an inter-satellite modem for the real-time downlink of information. The satellite was launched in January 2022 as part of the SpaceX launch in Florida, USA.
Current satellites in low earth orbit fall short when monitoring wildfires in the afternoon, which is the peak time for fires. In some instances, eight hours can go by before a satellite can report on a wildfire which can have disastrous results. The groundbreaking technology of FOREST-1 allows for significantly higher accuracy and faster global coverage while cutting down data processing time and delivering high-resolution images at a far lower cost than previously possible.
“This is an important milestone for the company as our team has proven that thermal-infrared technology on a nanosatellite can outperform existing technology,” said Thomas Grübler CEO at OroraTech. “We will launch the next eight satellites by the end of 2023 that will allow us to serve insights to our customers during peak burn time in the afternoon, where there is currently no data. In the next few years, we will achieve a detection time of 30 minutes worldwide with our entire satellite constellation.”
As of now, the company relies on various external satellite data sources for its wildfire intelligence platform. FOREST-1 is the first step toward OroraTech’s future fleet of nanosatellites, which will provide worldwide coverage of high-resolution thermal-infrared imagery. This data will pave the way to improve our climate resilience by serving applications requiring a seamless flow of information such as urban heat monitoring, irrigation of agricultural land, or accurate carbon emission tracking.