Press Release

Orbital Sidekick Characterizes Aurora, Secures Key Partnership to Enhance USG Support

By SpaceRef Editor
February 17, 2022
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Orbital Sidekick (OSK), the leader in commercial space-based hyperspectral monitoring, shares the validation of first light imagery from the company’s recent pathfinder mission and announces a strategic investment with In-Q-Tel (IQT).

To assess the data quality of its Aurora hyperspectral satellite sensor, which launched on June 30, 2021, OSK performed a comparative study between Aurora and two well-known sensors: Hyperion and PRISMA. The Aurora sensor was designed in the likeness of the Hyperion sensor, a hyperspectral instrument launched as part of Earth Observing-1 in 2000 (decommissioned in 2017). PRISMA, a mission from the Italian Space Agency (launched in 2019) consists of two hyperspectral detectors, which together cover the wavelength ranges of Aurora and Hyperion.

“The signal-to-noise ratio of Aurora showed to be several times better than Hyperion, which was the standard for satellite-based hyperspectral imaging for the past decade. Aurora also recorded SWIR measurements consistent with PRISMA. Having achieved this performance at approximately one-hundred times lower the cost, and providing first-ever accessibility of data and analytics to tailored applications, this milestone places OSK at the forefront of commercial hyperspectral imaging,” said Dr. Alvin Spivey, Director of Analytics at OSK.

To elevate its support of national security for the U.S. and its allies, OSK entered an agreement with IQT to deliver timely and relevant insights to IQT’s government partners as part of a rapidly growing hybrid architecture of technology solutions. IQT invests in groundbreaking, commercially focused companies offering capabilities with the potential for significant national security impact. 

“Orbital Sidekick’s hyperspectral satellite constellation and forward-looking approach to data processing and management will offer rapid turnaround of insights for government decision-makers,” offered Kristi Bradford, Senior Technology Architect, In-Q-Tel., Inc. “We’re delighted to be working with Orbital Sidekick to bridge the technology gap that will enable this commercial capability to be leveraged by our government partners.”

“Our team is thrilled to join the IQT portfolio of technology providers,” said Dr. Katie Corcoran, OSK’s Director of Government Affairs. “This agreement helps set the stage for long-term growth and sustainable support for some of our most critical national security needs.”

OSK’s six-satellite hyperspectral constellation (GHOSt) will launch during 2022. Each satellite in the constellation will capture 512 spectral bands across the visible to shortwave infrared region (VSWIR, 400 – 2500 nm) at 8 m (HSI) and 3 m (panchromatic) GSD, and a revisit rate of up to daily for certain locations.

About Orbital Sidekick

Orbital Sidekick’s vision is to build the most robust remote sensing and analytics capability in existence. OSK’s proprietary analytics platform and hyperspectral payload architecture provide persistent space-based monitoring solutions powered by Spectral Intelligence™. This unique radiometric speciation and change detection capability enables unparalleled target monitoring services for both commercial and defense users on a global scale. Orbital Sidekick is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information on Orbital Sidekick’s global persistent monitoring services, please visit

Press Contact 

Jack Buttacavoli

SpaceRef staff editor.