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First hyperspectral images published

[Editor’s note: Kuva Space was previously known as Reaktor Space Lab from the formation of the company in April 2016 until the end of September of 2021. This blog post was written before the Kuva Space brand renewal.]

Since the beginning of its mission, Reaktor Hello World has been capturing hyperspectral images from various locations. While the results are being analysed together with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, we will keep posting some of the results here in our webpage. Here’s the first public sets and explanations behind them.


Pivot fields in Sahara


First images from Reaktor Hello World overlaid on Earth’s surface


The image above was taken above Sahara, near the borders of Libya, Egypt and Sudan. The fields in the upper right-hand corner of the image are part of an irrigation experiment. The reddish close-up image measures the spectral signature of water, which enables visualizing the changing moisture content in the ground. The image reveals differences of water content in the fields: the blue-green parts indicate better irrigation, whereas the yellow-orange signify drier conditions.

This image demonstrates the potential of hyperspectral imaging. Being able to capture the range of infrared frequencies (900 – 1400 nm) and comparing the results, this imaging method shows significantly more than regular images, taken in the range of visible light. This burst used 10 different wavelengths.


Wavelength comparison


False color images of desert highland in southern Sahara


The image on the left depicts changes in soil type across the image while the image on the right displays changes in soil moisture. The water reservoir in the upper part of the image is very well highlighted in this image, when compared to the dark rocks.

The Hyperspectral Imager with tunable filter allows us to change wavelengths on the fly. Using the imaging results from this mission, we are able to fully customize wavelengths for different targets and imaging applications.


What’s next?


Reaktor Hello World and its payload have proven to be fully functional. While the scientific process of validating the data is ongoing, we are simultaneously working on an upgraded version of the satellite – bringing us even further towards a hyperspectral constellation.

We will keep posting the images together with VTT. If you have an idea for collaboration, please do not hesitate to contact us!