British Earth Observation scale-up Satellite Vu, has successfully closed the second round of its Series A fundraising, bringing total investment to £20 million,with American investors Lockheed Martin and In-Q-Tel investing in its potential to produce the worlds first highest resolution infrared data sets available from space.
Image courtesy Satellite Vu
Satellite Vu’s first funding round was led by Seraphim Space Investment Trust Plc, the world’s first listed SpaceTech Fund. New participants in the second close include Contrarian Ventures, as well as US investors Lockheed Martin, and In-Q-Tel, Inc. — notable for their mission to invest in cutting-edge technologies to enhance the national security of the United States.
The funding round highlights Satellite Vu’s rapid growth; the company raised its seed round funding of £3.6 million ($5 million) in April last year.
As well as US expansion, Satellite Vu’s new investment will be directed to ramping up its plans to launch a constellation of seven thermal infrared imaging satellites that will offer a resolution of 3.5m, this outperforms existing available resolution of 100m.
Satellite Vu plans to launch the first of its constellation of satellites into orbit within the next year. The satellite will collect thermal data, day and night, of both the natural and the built environment at any location on the planet.
This constellation will be used to provide near real-time data on the green credentials of buildings anywhere on the planet. The power of Satellite Vu's technology stretches beyond the built environment, into applications within environmental monitoring, sustainable finance, and activity-based intelligence. The company has also started measuring and disclosing its own carbon emissions in full, as the first step to reach Net Zero targets.
Satellite Vu’s full constellation will have the ability to measure the heat signature of any building multiple times a day, enabling Satellite Vu to derive new insights in near real time about building heat loss, activity, and insulation. By measuring the heat coming off a building, Satellite Vu will provide data that will be able to show if any individual building is being heated efficiently or which parts of a city are prone to urban heat islands.
The built environment accounts for 40% of global carbon emissions making it one of the largest contributors to climate change.
Satellite Vu’s data has the potential to be a game-changer for anyone involved in the construction, funding, and insuring of real estate and related infrastructure. By providing global data at a micro-local level, the technology will empower real estate market actors to make the right decisions to make building stock greener.
Satellite Vu’s data can address many of the pressing problems faced by governments in terms of security and climate change. The data offers opportunities to identify and characterise small ocean vessels that may otherwise be invisible from other space sensors and can also monitor productivity and security of global supply chains and commodities. Furthermore, near real time infrared video and images can be used for unfolding and dynamic events to inform first responders around wildfires and disaster relief.
Transparent Carbon Emissions
The latest round follows the news that Satellite Vu has made its carbon emissions data available to the public, to raise awareness and promote accountability towards business sustainability.
Satellite Vu has become one of the first major space companies to share its carbon emissions data publicly in a drive toward achieving the goals set out in the recent COP 26 summit in Glasgow. Satellite Vu hopes its transparency will encourage other businesses to follow suit and take accountability and action against climate change.
Thermal Water Pollution
The satellites can also be tasked to monitor thermal water pollution across the globe. Monitoring could detail thermal variations caused by oil refineries, wastewater treatment works and nuclear power plants. In addition to monitoring productivity and illegal activity, the satellites will also be able to validate Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) credentials, creating opportunities to link pollution events to a company’s “Environmental”, or “E” factor.
Anthony Baker, CEO of Satellite Vu, said: "We are thrilled to have raised further funding to propel our expansion into the US market. Our advanced thermal infrared camera will be able to offer unique, previously unseen insights into human activity and the full constellation will enable up to twenty revisits per day of a single location anywhere on the planet. The funding supports the development of new applications and enables closer collaboration on proof of concepts with our customers. This investment further demonstrates that our technology offers potential benefits for national security capabilities, and we look forward to building and expanding our relationship with partners overseas, particularly the US."
James Bruegger, Chief Investment Officer of Seraphim Space (Manager) LLP, commented: “Our latest investment into Satellite Vu reflects our confidence and commitment to a company that is on the precipice of significantly advancing the capability of the space sector. The funding round will give the company the capital to ramp up its plans to launch a constellation of seven thermal infrared imaging satellites, integral to helping provide near real-time insight on a building’s heat loss, monitor potential weather disasters and universally record carbon emissions. Satellite Vu is imperative to helping solve the biggest challenges we face.”
Chris Moran, vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Ventures said: “Satellite Vu’s thermal earth observation technology motivates both commercial and national security sector interests. Real time infrared data leveraged from Satellite Vu’s imaging satellite constellation will provide critical insights and support broader security priorities.”
Satellite Vu will be able to monitor the temperature of any building on the planet in near real-time using a new thermal infrared camera. These images will provide valuable insights into economic activity, energy efficiency and humanitarian responses. Satellite Vu will be the Earth’s thermometer in space.
Founded in 2016, Satellite Vu has raised £20 million from venture capital led by Seraphim Space Investment Trust and grants. The satellite and application development has been supported by the UK Space Agency, via two National Space Innovation Grants and a European Space Agency General Support Technology Programme grant.
The constellation of satellites will be built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and the first satellite is scheduled to be launched into low earth orbit in early 2023.