The Constellation is expected to comprise a minimum of 16 satellites (8 optical and 8 SAR) flying in two orbital planes, with each plane consisting of four satellite pairs, equally-spaced around the orbit plane. Each pair of satellites will consist of a dual-mode, high-resolution optical satellite (video and pushbroom) and a dual-band high-resolution SAR satellite (X-band and L-band) flying in tandem.
The Constellation will provide what the Company anticipates to be unmatched space-imaging capabilities, including high collection capacity, optical and SAR data fusion, weather-independent high-resolution imaging using the SAR, target revisit, and imaging latency. By flying the satellites in tightly-paired SAR and optical tandem formations, the Constellation is expected to offer a number of innovative capabilities, including onboard real-time processing, cross-cueing between the satellites, and real-time cloud imaging on the leading SAR satellites that enables cloud avoidance in the trailing optical satellites. By employing two orbital planes, the Constellation will allow for maximum revisit rates in the mid-latitudes, while providing the Company with global coverage extending to the poles.
UrtheCast has entered into Memoranda of Understanding (“MOU’s”) with multiple customers and partners, including an MOU from a confidential customer to provide US$195 million of funding for the Constellation during the build phase of the program (expected to be 2016-2020). As these MOU’s are successfully converted to binding definitive agreements, these customers will provide further support and funding for the Constellation.
The Company plans to disclose further technical, operational and financial details with respect to the Constellation as the material aspects relating to the build, launch and operation of the satellites are formalized with additional customers.
UrtheCast’s President and COO, Wade Larson said: “We’ve been working on the Constellation for over a year now and we’re delighted by the market reception we’ve had. We’re confident that the Constellation will bring an entirely unique dataset to this industry and, frankly, given the response we’re getting around the world, our customers agree. We couldn’t be more pleased with the progress we’re making.
“UrtheCast’s Strategic Industrial Partners: SSTL (UK) and ElecnorDeimos (Spain)UrtheCast’s strategic implementation partner for the satellite design and build is UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL), the world’s leading smallsat manufacturer, owned by Netherlands-headquartered Airbus Group SE. Said Luis Gomes Director of Earth Observation for SSTL, “The design of the Gen-3 constellation is the culmination of a considerable effort on the part of both companies over the past year, working in very close partnership. As strategic partners in this venture, we see this initiative as a perfect marriage of the strengths of both SSTL and UrtheCast.”
UrtheCast’s strategic implementation partner for building out the Constellation’s mission planning system, distributed ground stations, SAR payload integration, mission analysis and flight dynamics is Spain-based ElecnorDeimos Space. As Miguel Belló, CEO of ElecnorDeimos Space noted, “We’re very pleased to be working with UrtheCast, its partners, and its customers in building out the Constellation. Our extensive experience in working with the European Space Agency’s (ESA) satellite missions, integrating complete satellite missions, in addition to working with other customers around the world, makes us an ideal partner for UrtheCast in realizing this ambitious and unique program.”