Bangalore-based Spacetech start-up Pixxel on Tuesday said its plan to delay the launch of its first satellite Anand by a few weeks. The announcement comes five days before the scheduled launch on February 28 via ISRO’s PSLV-C51.

In an official statement, Awais Ahmed, Co-founder of Pixxel, said that the launch has been delayed due to software issues that came up during the final satellite testing.

"Due to certain software issues that surfaced during the final satellite testing, we have decided not to proceed with our scheduled launch on the PSLV-C51 mission scheduled for the 28th of this month. Given the time and effort that has gone into making the satellite, it did not make sense to rush a satellite to launch, in which we do not have complete confidence at this time. We have, thus, decided to push our launch by a few weeks, revaluate the satellite software, and test it rigorously over the next few weeks as we look for the next closest launch opportunity,” Awais said.

What Was Pixxel’s First Satellite Aiming For?

Pixxel is building a constellation of earth-imaging small satellites to monitor the planet 24X7, and provide data to organisations to predict global phenomena in real-time. 

Anand is a part of Pixxel’s Firefly fleet of earth observation satellites. The Firefly fleet is a constellation of satellites that Pixxel is aiming to deploy in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to monitor the planet around the clock.

The data it collects will help organisations globally to detect, monitor and predict global phenomena in real-time.

“The data from Pixxel’s satellite will be used to solve some of humanity’s most pressing problems today such as flagging pest infestations and crop diseases in time, detecting forest fires early, talking air and water pollution levels, detecting oil spills and gas leaks and mapping large scale geological changes among other things,” said Awais in a statement.

The Bangalore-based satellite imaging start-up had joined hands with NewsSpace India Limited (NSIL) — the commercial arm of ISRO — after the Modi administration announced new space reforms in 2020.

The reforms made way for private players to work with ISRO to take the Indian space sector to the next level. 

In December 2020, ISRO had announced that the PSLV-C51 mission is a special one as it will launch Pixxel’s first satellite from its Firefly fleet of earth observation satellites. 

The PSLV-C51 mission’s primary payload includes a Brazilian earth observation satellite named Amazonia, along with two more satellites, including 'SATISH SAT' by Space Kids India, and 'UNIT-SAT' by a consortium of universities. 

Pixxel, was founded in 2019 by Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal for building a constellation of about 30 Earth-imaging small satellites to be deployed into the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to monitor the planet 24x7, and provide data to enable organisations across the world to detect, monitor, and predict global phenomena in real-time. 

Earlier, in January 2021, the start-up launched a new facility in Bangalore, which is used to develop satellites as part of its constellation. 

“We wish the PSLV-C51 mission the absolute best as it takes off on 28th February 2021, albeit without us,” Awais said.