SATLANTIS’ Earth Observation Solutions for Africa’s Diverse Needs

Guillermo Roselló, CCO of SATLANTIS

SATLANTIS is a pioneering space technology company offering unique solutions designed to meet the precise geo-requirements of end-users, utilising their agile, advanced spectral capture and very high-resolution (VHR) image quality.

Built around its customisable high-resolution optical payloads, SATLANTIS delivers innovative integrated satellite solutions that capture critical spectral information essential for varying reliable and integrated remote sensing applications. 

On the sidelines of the 2024 NewSpace Africa Conference, Space in Africa had the opportunity to chat with Guillermo Roselló, CCO of SATLANTIS, to understand the company’s model for providing end-to-end solutions that generate unique and proprietary data for its customers.

Please summarise SATLANTIS’ core business operations and expertise, particularly concerning its services and offerings, focusing on its involvement in Africa.  

SATLANTIS is a leading space technology company specialising in comprehensive solutions for Earth observation and universe exploration. At its core lies the Integrated Standard Imager for Microsatellites (iSIM), which boasts high—and very high-resolution optical payloads tailored for small satellites.

Our Earth observation (EO) solutions provide extensive and simultaneous coverage across multiple spectral ranges, including the panchromatic band (PAN), red, green & blue bands (RGB), the near-infrared band (NIR), the short-wave infrared band (SWIR), and thermal Infrared band (TIR) capabilities. 

Additionally, we offer video and polarimetry functionalities, ensuring heightened situational awareness for our clientele across diverse areas and facilitating knowledge transfer across various sectors.

Using our technology, SATLANTIS has successfully executed six missions in space thus far, with two additional EO missions slated for launch before Q2 2025. Our portfolio boasts innovative features such as simultaneous VNIR and SWIR spectral capture, alongside the ability to continuously capture imagery of non-linear tracks. This capability is invaluable for monitoring borders, coastlines, pipelines, and ground structures while enhancing swath coverage or back-scanning capability to extend observation times over areas of interest.

Encompassing the entire value chain, we offer complete satellite solutions to tackle challenges across various sectors pertinent to Africa. These include environmental concerns such as methane emissions detection, agricultural issues like food security, water stress, crop health monitoring, and security needs, including maritime and border surveillance. Additionally, our offerings extend to disaster management, covering events like fires and floods and critical infrastructure monitoring. Our solutions comprise state-of-the-art hardware, software, and services, fully customisable to meet the unique requirements of our users.

With a dedicated team of 120 engineers, SATLANTIS is experiencing robust growth and boasts a remarkable 100% success rate across all missions undertaken thus far.

What specific opportunities do you see for SATLANTIS in Africa’s growing space engineering ecosystem?

Africa holds significant interest for SATLANTIS, especially considering the region’s heightened activity in the Earth Observation sector in recent years. There’s a growing awareness of the benefits offered by our proposed solutions. Clear opportunities exist with both public and private sector entities in the region. In 2024, our customers and partners can begin leveraging our fast-track EO solutions. These solutions are coupled with a unique training programme designed to enhance local capabilities and foster the growth of the related ecosystem. We strongly believe that projects that foster collaboration between universities, government, and the private sector are key drivers for sustainable growth in the space industry.

In line with the company’s focus on agility and customisation, how does SATLANTIS plan to adapt its satellite solutions to address specific use cases or industry verticals particularly relevant to African countries, such as agriculture, mining, or environmental monitoring?  

Rooted in our origins in astrophysics, our core expertise lies in deciphering the language of light. This profound understanding, coupled with insights gained from addressing our customers’ challenges, enables us to design flexible solutions that meet the diverse needs of our society from space. 

This adaptability translates into our ability to customise our Earth Observation (EO) solutions to specific requirements. For instance, we adeptly configure our missions with specific short-wave infrared (SWIR) bands to monitor methane gas emissions from oil & gas infrastructures or analyse soil moisture levels crucial for food security. Additionally, we excel in maximising specific parameters in our imagery, customised to the application needs of our customers, thanks to our proprietary image processing algorithms. Furthermore, we can provide panoramic missions if our customers demand wider coverage. 

Our deep understanding of the optical realm empowers us to engineer satellite missions with highly customised technology, ensuring robust support for our customers’ needs.

How does SATLANTIS plan to collaborate with local partners, academic institutions, or government agencies in African countries to understand better and cater to the specific needs and requirements of different regions?  

SATLANTIS is committed to promoting collaboration among key African entities such as universities, research institutes, agencies, and local private sectors. We aim to achieve this through robust training and knowledge transfer programmes, fostering a strong connection to the international space & science ecosystem.

Our roots trace back to the University of Florida (USA), and our facilities are strategically located at the innovation hub of Basque Country University in Spain. Additionally, integrating Supersharp, a spin-off from the University of Cambridge (UK), into our group further strengthens our ties with academia. This rich background legitimises our company to offer a value proposition deeply connected with universities. Through this vision, we provide our customers and partners with a unique journey, leveraging our expertise and partnerships to drive impactful collaborations and advancements in the space industry.

Does SATLANTIS plan to establish regional support centres or training facilities in strategic African locations to provide localised technical assistance and capacity building?  

SATLANTIS eagerly anticipates contributing to local capacity building through various avenues. These efforts can be organised and implemented through regional centres, tailored to suit the nature of operations in each area. Promoting the space sector, offering local training initiatives, and fostering long-term relationships via joint development missions form the cornerstone of SATLANTIS’ approach to serving its customers. These pillars reflect our commitment to empowering local communities, fostering skill development, and nurturing enduring partnerships for mutual growth and success.

Similarly, we are at the forefront of developing advanced manufacturing techniques for high-capacity Earth Observation satellite missions. These advancements enable us to give customers access to top-performing satellites within a remarkably short timeframe. For instance, our GARAI mission, slated for 2024 and 2025, showcases a microsat platform equipped with two cutting-edge, very high-resolution optical sensors. These sensors boast complementary capabilities such as visible and NIR channels, SWIR, video, polarimetry, agility, and back scanning.

In conjunction with our proposed EO missions, we offer local knowledge transfer projects aimed at enhancing and supporting the capability of the local value chain. These initiatives contribute to technological advancement, empower local communities, and foster economic growth.

How important do you reckon the NewSpace Africa Conference is to the overall growth of the African space ecosystem?  

We view the NewSpace Africa Conference as a pivotal event for the overall growth of the African space ecosystem. This conference is a unique platform that brings together space leaders and users, facilitating connections and fostering synergies within the ecosystem. We are immensely grateful for the opportunity to participate in this event, as it allows us to showcase and introduce our technology to potential new partners, ultimately contributing to the advancement and expansion of the African space sector.

For more information about SATLANTIS and to engage in discussions about our various  Earth Observation solutions tailored to Africa, please visit our website [here].