TAMPA, Fla. — British Earth observation startup Satellite Vu has ordered a second satellite from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) for its planned thermal imaging constellation.

Satellite Vu said July 21 the satellite is a clone of the one it ordered last year from U.K.-based SSTL, and would double the data it can collect to identify buildings that are wasting heat and other climate change applications.

The two satellites are based on SSTL’s 130-kilogram DarkCarb design, which carries mid-wave infrared (MWIR) technology for capturing thermal imagery at a resolution of 3.5 meters.

The first of seven planned satellites are slated to launch in the first quarter of 2023 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter rideshare mission. The satellite was previously slated to launch in the fourth quarter of 2022.

The British startup expects its second satellite will be launched in early 2024. It did not provide a timeframe for the remaining satellites.

“The procurement of another satellite is driven by market demand for more capacity to address urgent customer problems and investor confidence in the team to accelerate the execution of the company business plan,” Satellite Vu founder and CEO Anthony Baker said in a statement.

Satellite Vu said it has been working to de-risk the technology with funding support from the UK Space Agency’s National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP). 

The startup has raised £20 million ($24 million) in grants and venture capital to date, including an investment announced in March from U.S.-based Lockheed Martin and In-Q-Tel.

The full constellation would be able to measure heat coming off a building multiple times a day, according to Satellite Vu. This would enable the company to provide insights for increasing the efficiency of the built environment, which is estimated to account for 40% of global carbon emissions.

Other startups developing thermal imagery constellations include Germany’s OroraTech and Washington-based Hydrosat.

Advances in satellite-based thermal imagery solutions are also helping prevent and combat wildfires that are becoming increasingly prevalent in the changing climate.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...