Alpha Insights debuts its plan to develop dual-band SAR satellites

There is a new kid in the block in the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sector. Alpha Insights, a Toronto-based startup, was established in 2020. Scott Larson, a former Urthecast CEO, founded the company after the former got into financial problems.

Larson co-founded Urthecast alongside his brother Wade. The company has been developing SAR assets for ten years until it filed for bankruptcy, selling its stock to Alpha Insights in 2020. Urthecast X and L-band SAR cost about $65 million. “It’s truly world-class X and L-band SAR and its generations ahead of anything else commercially available,’ said Larson.

Recently, the Canadian startup revealed that Prime Movers Lab, an American company that funds breakthrough scientific startups, invested in its SAR program. Alpha Insights will expand its engineering workforce and prepare for a space trip for its imagery satellites.

According to the company’s press release, its SAR will provide a wide-area coverage and an ultra-high-resolution SAR image at 0.40 meters. The company will use proprietary artificial intelligence and cueing to identify and analyze imagery and data quickly.

“We are pleased to be guiding Alpha Insights’ seed funding phase. As supporter of the new space industry as well as the potential space economy, we have closely continued to track SAR innovation, and we expect that Alpha Insights’ policy and technology is going to be a game-changer for Earth observation,” said Prime Mover’s Lab partner, Anton Brevde.

This SAR technology will provide a foundation for Alpha Insights, which proposals to have a rich dataset capable of imaging across clouds as well as at night and through foliage, trees and even into biomass. This technology will scale up imaging in data collection in market analysis, infrastructure, logistics, agriculture, insurance, security, military, environmental study sectors.

Scott Larson also was able to co-found Helios Wire Corporation, a Vancouver-based satellite-enabled Internet of Things (IoT) company. In October 2019, EchoStar Global LLC, a satellite communication provider, acquired Helios for $26 million.

Before founding Alpha Insights, Larson served as Draganfly’s acting President. Draganfly is a drone manufacturer based in Saskatoon. Draganfly has worked on several top-notch projects, including a variety of center of vertical gravity take-off and landing cargo delivery drones and a pandemic drone that detects symptoms of Covid-19 and identifies social distancing.

SAR is an advanced imaging infrastructure that can capture images through clouds, fog, darkness, and biomass. It creates two or three-dimensional alterations of objects on the earth’s surface. Environmental studies, earth-resource mapping for valuable rocks and crude oils, and military intelligence include some of the areas where they use the SAR technique

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