Categories: Tech

Thermal imaging startup Satellite Vu closes $15.8M ahead of first launch

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UK start up Satellite Vu has raised £12.7 million ($15.8 million) to develop what it calls “the thermometer of the world”: a satellite constellation that can track thermal emissions around the world.

The Series A-2 round was led by Molten Ventures, with participation from Seraphim Space, A/O Proptech, Lockheed Martin, Ridgeline Ventures, Earth Sciences Foundation and Stellar Ventures. All of these investors have previously contributed to Satellite Vu. The company has raised £30.5 million ($37.7 million) to date, including a £1 million ($1.2 million) grant from the UK Space Agency’s National Space Innovation Programme.

The London-based startup is developing technology to collect high-definition thermal data from space. The satellites will be able to measure the heat emitted by individual buildings, data the company says could be used to help companies and governments find more energy-efficient solutions.

Being able to locate and measure thermal energy output will be essential to achieving carbon neutral emissions, the company says.

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Satellite Vu will send its first spacecraft into orbit in June, a bird built in partnership with Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 ride-share mission. The satellite will be able to collect images and video with a resolution of 3.5 meters per pixel.

The seven-year-old company has customer commitments worth more than £128 million ($160 million) through its early access options program, which gives customers preferential access to footage and the ability to secure satellite capacity. Companies that have joined the program include Japan Space Imaging Corporation and analytics company Kayrros. Those funds should transition to income beginning in the fourth quarter of this year.

“Their early commitments of $160 million are a fantastic model of pre-launch sales for deep tech companies that other climate technology companies could emulate,” George Chalmers, Molten Ventures chief climate technology, said in a statement.

The new financing was an up round, according to Satellite Vu, or a round in which the company’s valuation rose. The company will return to collecting its Series B after the initial launch.

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