Bremen/Freiburg, 03. November 2022. OHB has cemented its partnership with deep tech start-up constellr by providing capital through its strategic investment arm OHB Venture Capital GmbH in the framework of the latest financing round. A total of $10 million (EUR 10 million) was made available by various investors led by Lakestar and VSquared. constellr will use the funds to work towards its goal of ensuring global food security despite the challenges posed by the effects of climate change and the ever-growing world population. To this end, the company plans to launch a constellation of microsatellites that can precisely measure the health of crops from space. A cloud-based data platform will be used to make the results available to the agricultural sector. OHB is not only supporting constellr with funds but is also involved in developing the thermal infrared payloads for the satellite constellation and defining additional potential applications for the data obtained.
Climate change and a steadily growing world population: Agriculture under pressure
Climate change and the ever-growing world population pose increasing challenges to agricultural production worldwide. Water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource and, in order to protect nature, the use of fertilisers is being increasingly regulated. As a result, crops often suffer from drought stress and nutrient deficiencies.
Monitoring fields from space
To identify affected crops from space, constellr plans to launch a constellation of microsatellites. By using thermal infrared cameras, the water content of plants can be determined on the basis of leaf temperature. The advantage of taking measurements from space is that very large areas can be covered in a short amount of time. The data can easily be compiled into maps that allow the targeted use of artificial irrigation and thus save precious water.
“We are very excited about the mission and team behind constellr. OHB has been working with the team from the very beginning when the idea first began to materialise. We are very happy that we can continue supporting them, not only with financing but also with their technical developments”, says Egbert Jan van der Veen, Managing Director of OHB Venture Capital.
Max Gulde, CEO of constellr adds: “The team has worked tirelessly on all fronts, removing obstacle after obstacle, getting a first camera in space and pilot customers on board. And now, we are incredibly proud to partner with what will become our mission control: Lakestar, VSquared, FTTF and IQT for deep tech, Amathaon, Natural Ventures, EIT Food and Next Humanity for agriculture, and Seraphim, OHB and Spacebel for space. Together, we just ignited the second stage towards a global water monitoring system.”
constellr is a German deep tech start-up from Freiburg that operates at the interface of Earth Observation and agriculture. A spin-off of the Fraunhofer, Europe’s largest organisation for applied science, constellr is dedicated to supporting global food security in times of climate
change. Based on a proprietary space infrastructure with unique sensing capabilities, constellr offers precise and plot-level water monitoring for the agricultural sector worldwide. As a space data and services company, constellr is leading the way in delivering daily, global land surface temperature data for the agri-tech industry. constellr provides the fundamental global data for smart crop monitoring, identifying changes in crop health days to weeks before they become visible and enabling farmers to react early to and mitigate for potential
crop risks and losses. This advanced warning means the risk of crop failure or damage is significantly reduced, allowing more accurate crop yield forecasting and thus better stability and management across supply chains.