The Extreme Science of Building High-Performing Compact Cameras for Space Applications

Awais Ahmed


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Date: April 22, 2020


A thickening flock of earth-observing satellites blankets the planet. Over 700 were launched during the past 10 years, and more than 2,200 additional ones are scheduled to go up within the next 10 years. To add to that, year on year, satellite platforms and instruments are being miniaturized to improve cost-efficiency with the same expectations of high spatial and spectral resolutions. But what does it take to build imaging systems that are high-performing in the harsh environment of space but cost-efficient and compact at the same time? This talk will touch upon the technical issues associated with the design, fabrication, and characterisation of such extremely high-performing but still compact and cost-efficient space cameras taking the example of the imager that Pixxel has built as part of its earth-imaging satellite constellations plans.

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Awais Ahmed is the founder and CEO at Pixxel, an Indian space-technology startup that builds and operates a constellation of small-satellites to collect, monitor and analyze data through satellite imagery. Awais founded Pixxel in his final year at his university BITS Pilani, where he pursued his Master of Science degree in Mathematics, with the vision of establishing a global space company working on bringing the benefits of space down to earth. Pixxel’s first satellite is manufactured and booked to launch in August 2020 and will be the first private commercial satellite launched from India. Awais was also one of the founding members of Hyperloop India, the only Indian and one of the 24 global finalist teams in the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition where they built India’s first ever hyperloop pod and presented it to Elon Musk.

Created: Monday, May 18th, 2020