The launch of ICEYE-X1 sent the first ever under 100 kg SAR satellite into orbit. Making further history, ICEYE also successfully established communications with the 70 kg satellite.
ICEYE, the leader in synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) technology for microsatellites, has successfully established Finland's first commercial satellite operations. The company successfully launched its proof-of-concept satellite mission, ICEYE-X1, on ISRO’s PSLV-C40 rocket. The success of the launch, from Satish Dhawan Space Center in India, distinguishes ICEYE-X1 as the world’s first microsatellite equipped with synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) ever to be deployed in space and as Finland’s very first commercial satellite. Making further history, ICEYE has also successfully established communications with the 70 kg satellite on January 12, 2018 at 05:20, GMT (07:20 Finland time) now in orbit, signalling the next step in the mission’s success.
ICEYE-X1 is ICEYE’s initial proof-of-concept microsatellite mission using a SAR sensor. The goal of the mission is to validate in-orbit performance of the satellite and begin operations with select ICEYE customers. Data received from the satellite in space can be used for a wide variety of use cases including monitoring changing sea ice for maritime and environmental uses, tracking marine oil spills and helping to prevent illegal fishing, to name a few examples.
“ICEYE has been committed to enabling better decision making for everyone with Earth observation capabilities, and now through this new SAR data source, we are closer than ever to unlocking that potential across many different industries,” said Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and co-founder of ICEYE.
“I am extremely proud of the ICEYE team who have now, for the first time in the world, opened up the possibilities of the miniaturization of SAR technology. With the support from the Finnish and European communities, Aalto University, Tekes, Horizon 2020, all of our investors, our extremely talented advisors, and so many more who’ve supported us, we have been able to achieve this crucial milestone.”
Throughout 2018, ICEYE has at least two additional proof-of-concept satellite missions planned to further develop and demonstrate the capabilities of the company’s SAR technology. To mitigate the inherent risks associated with rocket launches and to verify specific provider capabilities, ICEYE has opted to launch its three initial missions each through different launch providers. ICEYE’s next launch of a proof-of-concept satellite, ICEYE-X2, is currently indicated by the next launch’s provider to occur during the summer of 2018.
At the conclusion of the initial proof-of-concept missions, ICEYE will launch a constellation of more than 18 SAR-enabled microsatellites to bring reliable high-temporal-resolution imaging to the market. ICEYE’s constellation, once fully deployed, will allow users to image accurately any point on Earth within only a few hours, regardless of weather or darkness.
Read our story on ICEYE here.