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June 28th, 2024
Hydrosat Announces the Launch of VanZyl-1: The First Commercial Satellite Offering High-Resolution Thermal Imagery & Global Coverage

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The Proprietary Imagers will Revolutionize Water Stress and Crop Health Monitoring, Enhancing Food Security Amid Climate Change


Washington, DC – Hydrosat, the climate tech company leveraging thermal imagery to measure water stress in agriculture and mitigate the effects of climate change, announced today the upcoming launch of its first satellite, VanZyl-1, scheduled for early July on SpaceX’s Transporter-11, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This groundbreaking satellite will showcase Hydrosat’s proprietary, first-of-its-kind custom imagers, to accelerate the delivery of global high-resolution thermal imaging technology and provide a critical dataset to further enhance agricultural and climate models. For the first time, a commercial satellite will include high-resolution thermal imagery and insights spanning the entire Earth – including land and water – revolutionizing the way growers and government agencies evaluate and respond to agricultural, environmental, and climate challenges.

Hydrosat named the VanZyl-1 satellite in honor of Jakob van Zyl, one of Hydrosat’s co-founders who passed away in 2020 following a decades-long career that included esteemed leadership roles at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and on numerous space exploration missions. Like its namesake, VanZyl-1 aims to achieve results that have never before been attempted. Specifically, the satellite will reveal a better understanding of global water stress, particularly in agriculture, which is often caused by drought and insufficient irrigation. By using thermal infrared imagery, VanZyl-1 will measure the impact of climate change and provide actionable data.

“With the escalating threat of droughts and water scarcity worldwide, access to reliable data is essential to understanding water utilization and sustaining agricultural productivity,” said Pieter Fossel, co-founder and CEO of Hydrosat. “As the global food system faces mounting pressure, businesses and governments are increasingly seeking better data to manage risks in real-time. The launch of VanZyl-1 represents a pivotal advancement in accelerating the delivery of high-quality data that fuels climate applications, providing invaluable insights to tackle pressing environmental issues.”

The unique advantage of Hydrosat’s pioneering technology is its ability to provide more frequent access to high-resolution thermal imaging of the entire globe. The launch of VanZyl-1 will significantly improve our understanding of climate-related events invisible to the naked eye by collecting images worldwide, including at times not covered by existing satellites, such as capturing high-resolution images over oceans or for consistent imaging at different times of day.

One of the significant limitations of current satellite programs is the infrequency of field-scale thermal image capture – only two images every 16 days – often further compounded by cloud cover, which can obscure critical data. With the addition of VanZyl-1 and Hydrosat’s upcoming constellation, additional images will be available. This breakthrough increases the frequency of data collection and enables Hydrosat to deliver more reliable and timely data for monitoring water stress and crop health. As a result, commercial customers can make confident, data-driven decisions based on improved data availability.

“With the launch of VanZyl-1, Hydrosat will pioneer the first commercial high-resolution thermal infrared mission to provide comprehensive global coverage. This marks a significant milestone in combating the effects of climate change by ushering in a new era in thermal imaging technology,” said Scott Soenen, Hydrosat’s Chief Technology Officer. “Hydrosat’s technology will enable the detection and monitoring of events more frequently and at higher resolution, further advancing the precision of our insights. The VanZyl-1 satellite is just the beginning; our future constellation will complement other government missions such as Landsat, enabling the capture of daily thermal infrared imagery of the planet.”

The applications for this data are vast and not limited to agriculture, aquaculture, drought, wildfire, and urban heat. From commercial operations to civil government initiatives, the insights provided by VanZyl-1’s data into these applications will elevate their capabilities, providing enhanced agricultural and climate modeling and crop stress information to growers and stakeholders. Hydrosat currently supports customers in 38 countries across millions of acres of farmland, enabling growers to optimize farming operations and increase crop yields while consuming less water. As Hydrosat pioneers the delivery of this groundbreaking data, a new era of informed decision-making emerges, driving advancements and efficiencies across various industries, which will be offered exclusively to early adopters who stand to benefit directly from this innovative data stream, evidenced by increased operational precision and the quality of outputs.

Hydrosat’s planned launch of its proprietary VanZyl-1 satellite is the latest achievement for the innovative climate tech company, underscoring its position as a leader in the field. Hydrosat was recently awarded a prestigious grant from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which funds innovative solutions with strong commercial potential. Additionally, in 2023, Hydrosat raised over $32 million in venture funding and announced the acquisition of IrriWatch, the world’s most advanced irrigation management. Hydrosat has also secured contracts from the National Reconnaissance Office and the U.S. Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center. These achievements highlight Hydrosat’s rapid growth and commitment to driving innovation and delivering cutting-edge solutions. Following its launch of VanZyl-1, the next steps in Hydrosat’s satellite constellation project include the upcoming launch of Van-Zyl 2 in early 2025 and the goal of having the first block of satellites operational by 2026.

For more information on Hydrosat or to join the early adopter program, visit:

About Hydrosat

Hydrosat is the climate tech company leveraging thermal imagery to measure water stress in agriculture and help mitigate the effects of climate change. Hydrosat currently monitors millions of acres across customers such as NOAA, NRO, SupPlant, and Nutradrip, who trust the company’s high-resolution, timely satellite thermal imagery to deliver advanced analytics that convey precise crop yield forecasts and improved irrigation tools to financial and agribusiness customers around the globe.

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