Artist's rendering of Kuva Space Hyperfield-1 microsatellite. Credit: Kuva Space

SAN FRANCISCO – Finland’s Kuva Space won a 5 million euro ($5.47 million) European Commission contract to supply hyperspectral data to the Copernicus Contributing Mission program.

Under the five-year contract announced June 19, Kuva Space will provide data for monitoring farms, forests, methane emissions, harmful algal blooms and other applications.

“We are building a novel approach to spaceborne hyperspectral imaging and service delivery,” Tuomas Tikka, Kuva Space co-founder and chief technology officer, told SpaceNews by email. “We’re looking forward to evaluating our data and service capabilities together with the European Space Agency and Copernicus program experts in order to bring new high-quality insights to users around the globe to improve life on Earth.”

Kuva Space, formerly called Reaktor Space Lab, launched cubesats in 2018 and 2021. Since then, Kuva Space has been working to improve the spatial resolution of its hyperspectral imagers for commercial applications.

“Several test versions of the imager have been produced including an airborne demonstrator,” Tikka said. “We have also successfully developed and demonstrated our AI-based capabilities for hyperspectral data processing and analytics using hyperspectral data from scientific satellites.”

Kuva Space plans to launch four microsatellites in 2024 and to deploy as many as 100 satellites by 2030.

Unique Sensor

What makes Kuva unique, Tikka said, is its technology.

“Minituarizing a spaceborne hyperspectral imager is definitely a challenge,” Tikka said.

To address the challenge, Kuva Space developed a “tunable 2D-snapshot hyperspectral imager” that produces “high-quality hyperspectral data” and also for “application-optimized imaging modes” to improve data quality, Tikka said.

To compete in the market, Kuva Space plans to “build and launch a much larger constellation than our competitors, and thus provide data and insights at a much larger scale and frequency to our customers,” Tikka said. “Our business model is based on providing up-to-date and constantly updating analytical insights with an unmatched price-point in Earth observation.”

Kuva Space CEO Jarkko Antila said in a statement, “We look forward to closely collaborating with European Space Agency experts to validate our data quality and capabilities. This program represents a remarkable opportunity to help shape the high standard for hyperspectral data services within the EU and globally.”

Copernicus is the European Union program aimed at providing continuous, global Earth observation. Copernicus Contributing Missions are selected through an extensive process that includes ESA evaluation. 

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...