MONTEVIDEO – Satellogic, a company that was established in Uruguay in 2015 and was named one of the three most innovative firms in Latin America this year by Fast Company magazine, seeks to position this South American nation as a leading satellite manufacturer.
The satellite manufacturing company, founded by Argentine businessmen Emiliano Kargieman and Gerardo Richarte, has offices in Buenos Aires, Barcelona, San Francisco and Tel Aviv, although the satellites themselves are assembled in Montevideo.
Satellogic’s manufacturing plant is located in Zonamerica, a business and technology park that is in a free zone, allowing the company to avoid paying custom duties while also being near Buenos Aires and the Carrasco International Airport.
Employees at Satellogic work in a clean room and use gloves, surgical masks and special gowns to avoid any type of contamination that could damage the high-tech equipment.
“Once a satellite is assembled in the clean room, it is placed in a box that is closed and pressurized with nitrogen. It is then put on a plane and sent to where it will be launched,” the CEO of Satellogic in Uruguay, Fabricio Borsellino, told EFE during an interview, adding that the satellites produced are usually launched from Russia or China.
The satellites manufactured in the Uruguay plant, which are assembled in around 10 months, are relatively small, as they weigh some 70 kgs (154 lbs) and are the size of a washing machine.
Once they are put in orbit, these devices travel at 25,000 kph (15,500 mph) and take about 90 minutes to encircle Earth.
According to Borsellino, one of the advantages of Satellogic’s satellites is that the images they produce have a high resolution.
“We stand out from other companies because we propose a one-meter-per-pixel resolution, which is very high considering the size of our satellites and their cost,” Borsellino said.
In addition, according to the CEO, the satellites they manufacture have hyperspectral cameras allowing users to analyze the light spectrum, which is especially beneficial for organizations interested in developing precision agriculture.
Satellogic’s plan in the coming years is to produce 300 satellites, which would transform Uruguay into one of the top five satellite producing nations.
Since the satellites have a shelf life of some three years, the company plans to manufacture 100 per year to ensure older satellites are replaced with new, more advanced, ones.
To date, Satellogic has manufactured six satellites in Zonamerica that are currently orbiting Earth.