A ground-breaking mission took off last month aboard the PSLV-C40. ICEYE, the first Finnish commercial satellite, is a proof-of-concept mission that hopes to open up access to reliable earth observational data. Traditional earth observation satellites use optical cameras to capture images, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) uses microwave radar technology that enables image capture through cloud and even in darkness.
This mission is just the first of several proof-of-concept missions that will develop a constellation of at least 18 SAR microsatellites. This constellation will serve commercial customers and will enable the users to accurately image any point on Earth within only a few hours, day or night, and in any weather conditions.
“Working together with Spaceflight to schedule and make this launch a reality has been an outstanding experience for ICEYE, and it has given us the necessary opportunities for scaling up operations for our constellation of micro-SAR satellites as planned,” said Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and co-founder at ICEYE.
Data collected from the constellation will have many commercial uses, but could include monitoring sea ice movements or marine oil spills, and prevention of illegal fishing.
There were many reasons to celebrate the successful launch and deployment of ICEYE-X1. The images that ICEYE has already sent back are stunning. ICEYE will push earth observation satellite imaging technology to new heights. Spaceflight was thrilled to be a part of it!