Hello and welcome back to Max Q!
In this issue:
- Pixxel’s new investor
- Mission delays for Boeing, Rocket Lab
- News from SpaceX and more
Hyperspectral imagery startup Pixxel has closed $36 million in funding as it prepares to roll out new remote sensing and analytics capabilities to customers.
The LA- and Bangalore-based startup also scored a new strategic investor: Google, the tech giant that’s as well known for its mapping products as it is for its search engine. While Google led the Series B funding round, this does not mark the start of its relationship with Pixxel, CEO Awais Ahmed said in a recent interview.
“We were already working with them as a client before this,” he explained, with an AI research team from Google employing Pixxel’s hyperspectral data in agricultural applications. Google also rolled out its Earth Engine last year, a powerful tool that gives governments and businesses access to a massive trove of Earth observation data from hundreds of sensors in orbit. Many of Pixxel’s users separately use Earth Engine, Ahmed said, and the ultimate goal is to integrate the startup’s data onto that service.
Boeing and NASA said that the first crewed flight test of the Starliner capsule would be further delayed due to a new crop of technical issues with the spacecraft.
The first crewed mission was scheduled to fly two NASA astronauts on July 21 after being pushed back from an earlier April launch date. Officials did not provide a new launch date during a media briefing, though Boeing’s VP of commercial crew, Mark Nappi, said leadership would spend the next week or so figuring out a plan to ensure the capsule is safe for flight.
“The bottom line here is: safety is always our top priority,” a Boeing official said. “It’s always been that way with human spaceflight. And so that’s what drives this decision. You can say we’re disappointed because it means a delay, but the team is proud that we’re making the right choices.”
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