Dutch firm Cosine releases first images from hyperspectral camera aboard nanosatellite

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COLORADO SPRINGS — Cosine Measurement Systems on April 19 released the first images from its HyperScout miniaturized hyperspectral camera flying since February on the experimental GomX-4B nanosatellite.

The camera, developed by an international consortium lead by the Dutch company Cosine, separates light into 45 wavelengths, a treasure-trove of information for managing irrigation, monitoring fire hazards and detecting floods, among other change-detection applications.

A GomSpace GOMX-4 cubesat measuring 30x20x10 centimeters
A GomSpace GomX-4 cubesat measuring 30x20x10 centimeters

The host satellite, built by Danish cubesat specialist GomSpace, is a so-called 6U cubesat measuring  20x30x10 centimeters and weighing roughly eight kilograms. In addition to HyperScout, the European Space Agency-sponsored GomX-4B satellite also carries a miniaturized startracker for Innovative Solutions in Space, aircraft- and ship-tracking antennas developed by GomSpace and an ESA radiation hardening experiment. 

The GomX-4B was launched with GomX-4A, a structural twin built under separate contract for the  Danish Ministry of Defence, on a Chinese Chang Zheng-2D rocket Feb. 2 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China.

The 70-meter resolution images released April 19 were taken at pre-scheduled times, according to Cosine, resulting in two random locations being imaged: Scotland and Cuba. 

Marco Beijersbergen, founder and managing director of Cosine, said in a press release accompanying the images that they are the first spectral images captured by a miniaturized hyperspectral camera aboard a such a small satellite. 

Cosine said it will continue to calibrate the camera by imaging deserts and other landmarks with known hyperspectral characteristics and upload application software to demonstrate the camera’s flexibility and utility.