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Microsatellite radar network for fast update Arctic ice surveillance.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ICEYE (Microsatellite radar network for fast update Arctic ice surveillance.)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2018-02-28

The overall objective of ICEYE project is to provide fast-update images of ice status of the Arctic zone. This is made possible by satellites equipped with SAR sensors associated with a web application.
Companies involved in Artic operations have a common need for fast-update ice surveillance imagery to provide quick response to the risks posed by moving ice fields for vessels moving at several knots. Moreover, with new mining operations opening
up in the Arctic, especially in the Baffin Bay area, regular ice remote sensing services are required, as mining operators have constant, round-the-clock ore shipping.
Meanwhile, with existing systems, radar imagery is at best only available twice per day. And with their limited capacity, tasking often needs to be pre-programmed multiple days in advance, especially for commercial customers (i.e. not governmental, scientific or military institutions, which are often priviledged).
ICEYE's unique SAR microsatellite design allows to efficiently operate a large constellation of small satellites. This enables unprecedented access to SAR data, anywhere on the globe, at any time. With the full constellation we aim for an average of 3 hours delay from order to acquisition.
With the high amount of satellites in the constellation, ICEYE can provide imagery with very short lead times. It provides frequent revisits, rapid mosaicing of larger areas with high resolution and co-operation with other satellite operators and data providers to provide complementary data layers.
The ICEYE technology is scalable in its functionality and offers numerous applications in nearby markets that will provide terrain for future growth opportunities. The SAR instrument in a similar constellation setup can be used for any circumstance requiring fast response times, such as forest fires, floods, oil spill monitoring, search-and-rescue ops, traffic monitoring. The radar instrument can also be used more widely in applications for mapping, weather and surveillance. The distributed microsatellite sensor network approach can be used in other fast-response time measurements with different instrumentation, including: optical imaging (mapping, surveillance, weather imagery), spectral imaging (agricultural monitoring, pollution monitoring, resource reserves), communication (non-real time cheap messaging for remote areas), scientific purposes (radiation monitoring).
During the first 17 months of the project, ICEYE has developed all the subcomponents of the satellite (WP1 and WP2). In the meantime, subcontracted company (Ateknea Solutions) has implement front-end web application for accessing the images obtained from future satellites (WP3). All the components have been integrated into a complete satellite system and duly tested (in WP4 - testing the subcomponents alone as well as the integrated satellite), in order to be admitted for loading on board the rocket and launched in outer space. Finally, the integrated ICEYE system (the SAR instruments, satellite unit and the control systems) has been pilot-demonstrated (WP5). First, early demonstration of the enabling technology (ICEYE's SAR instrument) has been done with flight missions (radar mounted on jet planes flying on high altitudes). Final demonstration was done with the first ICEYE satellite launched and operating in Jan-2018, delivering already 600+ real-life, fast-update radar images (as of March 2018).
In-line with the technical progress, ICEYE was continuously working on the project and company communication (in WP6) and business innovation planning, monitoring and development (in WP7, incorporating detailed commercialization strategy and further financing plan). All the project management tasks has been carried out in a separate work package (WP8).
To achieve the objective of fast update ice imagery using microsatellites, ICEYE approach focuses on reducing satellite size and power requirements by several orders of magnitude, allowing it to be operated on lower orbit (with less noise, less radiation, lower costs and increased profitability). In order to further improve image delivery (response and downlink time), innovative on-board image processing is implemented.
With these innovations, ICEYE is able to surpass the modern state-of-the-art solutions and offer highly reliable, short delivery images with lower prices.
Providing such data benefits several sectors, improving both safety and efficiency of e.g.: oil operations (worth up to 370M€ per year), offshore supply operations (worth up to 480 M€ per year) and shipping (worth up to 48M€ per year).
Iceye's satellite
Historical, first image published from ICEYE-X1 satellite