These four spectrometers cover the visible to near infrared region, supported by the panchromatic camera, delivering 60 m spatial resolution, offering insight into the suspended contents of water bodies, including its pollution levels or the presence of toxic microorganisms such as harmful phytoplankton blooms.
Santiago notes: “In recent years CubeSats and nanosatellites under 10 kg of mass have transformed from educational tools into highly-valued spacecraft for many commercial and government sectors, favoured for their short development times, rapid assimilation of new components and miniaturised sensors, lower costs – including launch costs – and improved functionality.
“But achieving operational performance can still be a challenge for such small satellites because of their limitations in terms of available power, ground coverage and resolution, revisit times and so on. And the use of commercial-off-the-shelf components and non-space-qualified parts adds extra risk.
“So to have a real chance of achieving an operational Earth-observing mission we are leaning into distributed systems in the form of clusters and constellations, together with miniaturisation.”