14.04.2017 change 14.04.2017

Poles co-create elements of satellite constellation

The construction of satellite constellation for radar imaging of the surface of the Earth is the task of the Finnish start-up ICEYE, with which Polish company Creotech Instruments co-operates. In the next five years, they will build 20 to 30 satellites, and the first of them will be launched in 2017.

ICEYE is a Finnish space start-up that has been in the global market for two years. The goal of the company is to create a satellite radar imaging system for the Earth. The advantage of the radar solution over satellite optical telescope solutions is the ability to deliver images of the Earth regardless of atmospheric conditions. The usefulness of optical satellites is significantly reduced, for example, by clouds.

"The Finnish company has developed an innovative SAR (synthetic aperture radar) that will be installed on each of the 20-30 satellites. Such a large constellation will provide a complete imaging of the surface of the planet almost 24/7" - reports Creotech Instruments in a release sent to PAP.

The radar developed by the Finnish company has been successfully tested on airplanes and adapted for mounting on micro satellite platforms. This is a category of satellites weighing between 10 and 150 kg.

Creotech Instruments S.A. joined the ICEYE project in mid-2016. In the sterile assembly hall in Piaseczno, the company develops the electronics of the first radar satellite from the target constellation. The instrument will be launched into orbit in 2017 and will begin testing the technology developed by the Finnish company in space conditions. Creotech is involved not only in the production of the instrument, but also in perfecting the technical and technological details.

ICEYE operates in the so-called New Space, which seeks to commercially exploit the enormous potential of space technology while retaining organizational agility and cost-of-ownership regime specific to the start-up sector.

CEO of Creotech Instruments Grzegorz Brona pointed out that New Space means going beyond the strict security standards used until now in satellite projects by the world\'s leading players.

"Significant reduction in the cost of space projects is possible, but it involves accepting a higher level of risk. The economic balance is still positive. With a lower project\'s long-term budget, investors are ready to accept that some of the satellites will not work satisfactorily. Hence the idea to build a constellation of satellites; it will not only provide better availability of services such as satellite imagery, but it also guarantee the reliability of the whole system based on a constellation of satellites" - explained Grzegorz Brona.

"Through cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency - PAP) we have been able to gain unique competencies" - said Dr. Brona. "We are now taking a step further, working with space sector companies that work outside of ESA\'s projects, which significantly expands the market in which we operate. We consider cooperation with ICEYE a priority, because we have been preparing for such projects for a long time. This is one of our main business objectives" - added Brona.

In 2017, the first ICEYE satellite with a radar instrument made largely by Creotech will be launched into orbit. Two more satellites are planned by mid-2018. The production and launch of three instruments will allow to test the ICEYE system and optimise it for the next 20 to 30 satellites operating in a large constellation and delivering high-quality imagery of the Earth.

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