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First-ever UK orbital satellite launch includes intelligent hyperspectral imager HyperScout M

The launch of the shoebox-sized Prometheus-2 satellites will take place later this year from Spaceport Cornwall in Newquay. HyperScout M, the most compact and miniaturized version of the HyperScout product line developed by cosine, will be on board one of these satellites. Its goal is to help UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) pave the way for a more collaborative and connected space communication system.

Cosmic Girl, the Virgin Orbit’s modified Boeing 747 that carries the LauncherOne rocket, will soon take off from Spaceport Cornwall to deliver the two Prometheus-2 satellites into Earth’s orbit, one of which contains HyperScout M, the intelligent miniaturized hyperspectral instrument built by cosine.

The satellites demonstrate further progress towards the government’s ambition that by 2030 the UK will have the ability to monitor, protect and defend the interests of the country in and through space. “HyperScout M will allow Dstl and partners to research and assess the potential of hyperspectral and onboard processing for rapid response defense applications”, says Robert Gask, Dstl project technical authority.

cosine’s long heritage with hyperspectral imaging has led to the development of instruments suitable for a large set of applications. “This mission allows the UK Ministry of Defence to operate a hyperspectral sensor for the first time and also to be able to run processing and algorithms directly on HyperScout”, explains cosine Remote Sensing director Dr Marco Esposito. “It means being able to respond to events faster than is possible with current space assets.”

The HyperScout product line is a set of miniaturized hyperspectral imagers based on 2D sensors used in push broom mode. It allows you to observe reality from a picture with different layers and wavelengths. HyperScout M is the compact refractive version of the product line. It has been developed to fit in a standard single CubeSat unit. “The Prometheus-2 CubeSat’s dimensions are six cubes. They are tiny, with a lot of instruments inside. We delivered a HyperScout M engineering model in 3 months. The entire Remote Sensing team was involved in this project,” explains cosine project manager Luigi Castiglione.

The HyperScout line of instruments is developed by cosine and partners with support from the European Space Agency and the Netherlands Space Office.

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