Prospecting goes orbital with satellite tech

A UK SATELLITE firm has won a multi-million-pound customer contract to construct a remote-sensing prospecting satellite.


Exobotics will design, manufacture, and test a CubeSat satellite platform with a hyperspectral imaging payload to allow Quantum Generative Materials (GenMat) to canvas the natural environment anywhere on the planet. The GenMat technology locates minerals in untapped locations, which it believes could play a critical role in creating a circular ecosystem of advanced materials such as semiconductors.

The first GenMat constellation could reach up to 600 satellites to cover every inch of the Earth. The satellite can identify areas of resources and mineralisation zones. The International Energy Agency estimates that China controls over 71 percent of the world’s extraction and 87 percent of the processing capacity of rare earths. GenMat aims to begin boosting material detection and extraction in other regions, supporting national and regional economies.

GenMat will apply machine learning and AI algorithms to the satellite data to provide prospecting information.

A hyperspectral imager produced by Simera Sense will be capable of high-resolution imaging at less than five metres-per-pixel. The company says this will lay the foundation for a quantum-sensing space roadmap.

Exobotics will oversee the end-to-end production of the nano-satellite platform in its London engineering labs. It is set to launch late this year aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.