Dec 03, 2015

Finns developing SAR radar microsatellites

HELSINKI, Finland, 13 Nov. 2015. Iceye, a space technology startup in Helsinki, Finland, has secured more than $5 million in funding to help launch radar-based microsatellites designed to deliver earth imagery for disaster relief, logistics, planetary exploration, agriculture, nature, and climate applications.

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“The ICEYE system is unique because we do not rely on traditional optical imaging technology. Unlike camera technology, our radar is not limited by the same requirements – it’s capable of viewing through cloud cover, bad weather, and darkness, providing unlimited access wherever it’s needed. The timeliness of the imaging service is always limited by the speed of access to the target site. We’ve applied miniaturization and industrial manufacturing to the field of radar imaging. This allows us to launch not just one, but tens of satellites and ultimately reduce the response times from days to minutes. We believe this breakthrough in earth imaging is going to have a real positive impact on the world.” says Iceye CEO/Co-founder Rafal Modrzewski.

Iceye’s first customers are oil and shipping companies that need SAR to track the movement of ice in the Arctic around the clock in all weather conditions. Ultimately, the company wants to create an app and corresponding API that allows anyone to subscribe to a feed of SAR images of a particular area such as a farm, road, port or property anywhere in the world. Iceye is a spinout from Aalto University Radio Science & Engineering department. Rafal described how radar imagery can help save lives:

“Just last week, we were in Greece to help the aid organizations. They are struggling to rescue the refugees crossing the bay to Lesvos in their overcrowded boats,” he said. “We brought ground-based radars to track the vessels, and they were game-changing to the rescue operation—but their range is limited. The order-to-delivery time for commercially available satellite imagery is around a week, which doesn’t help if the boats can capsize and disappear in minutes. That’s why we are working hard every day to get our own service up and running.”

Related/Background

Iceye- Global monitoring, when it matters
Welcoming Iceye | True Ventures
ICEYE Ltd | Helsinki, Finland Startup

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