Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

ICEYE Report Summary

Project ID: 683736

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ICEYE (Microsatellite radar network for fast update Arctic ice surveillance.)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

FROM SPACE, THROUGH CLOUDS AND DARKNESS. 250 MI ABOVE EARTH

Iceye objective is to provide quick-response imagery from space with microsatellites equipped with imaging radar technology. The Iceye instrument can see through clouds, obscuring weather, and in the dark – all conditions that limit camera-based services in situations where waiting for daylight and nice weather is not an option.

76% OF THE GLOBE IS UNIMAGEABLE WITH OPTICAL SYSTEMS AT ANY MOMENT. WE CHANGED THAT.

The timeliness of the traditional imaging service are always limited by the speed of access to the target site. Right now satellite picture providers offer response times of up to 16 hours with a 12-hour refresh time. Iceye objective is to apply miniaturization and industrial manufacturing to the field of radar imaging - tapping to the most recent development in mobile technology, allowing to squeeze the radar sensors into a microsatellite platform which is 20x lighter than its governmental cousins. Designing the technology around latest off-the-shelf electronics gives Iceye low component prices and a fast technology update cycle.
This allows to launch not just one, but tens of satellites. Iceye satellites are designed to operate in swarms, providing better system reliability and quick access to anywhere on the globe, ultimately reducing the response times from days to minutes.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Main progress has been made in the field of satellite platform miniaturization and integration, with more than half of the subsystems already delivered and integrated. The plan is to launch the first integrated satellite in 2017.
Moreover, to accelerate uptake the results of the Iceye services, new web-based interface was designed and implemented to order and provide images from our satellites with just a few clicks.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

“WE BELIEVE THIS BREAKTHROUGH IN EARTH IMAGING IS GOING TO HAVE A REAL POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE WORLD” (Rafał Modrzewski, CEO).

The ability to quickly acquire images anywhere allows Iceye to create completely new types of services, where real-time tactical-level information on the most remote corners of the world can be provided with a few clicks on your computer. This new reliable data source is needed not only by industries such as logistics, insurance, and energy, but also by organizations monitoring climate and environment or providing search and rescue services.

Co-founder and CEO Rafal Modrzewski described one such use case:
“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”, he said.

“Governmental and military operators own and use radar satellites already”, added Pekka Laurilla, co-founder and CFO. “We want to make this technology accessible to everyone at a commercially feasible cost level, which means reducing the satellite unit prices over 100-fold compared to traditional satellites. One of the ways we achieve this is by utilizing off-the-shelf mobile electronics and mass manufacturing”.

“The need and opportunity for Iceye’s satellites are enormous”, said Jyri Engeström, member of the investment team at True Ventures. “From forest fires, to floods, to search and rescue operations, to agricultural uses, Iceye will be able to provide critical real-time information that

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