Iceye Planning to Launch Micro-SAR Constellation


Finnish space technology startup Iceye is planning to launch SAR imaging microsatellites. By setting up this micro satellite SAR constellation, they plan to be able to deliver SAR imagery in near-real-time to a vast variety of consumers and users, something which is not currently possible. Radar / SAR image analysts will love their tagline: From space, through clouds and darkness. They have already secured lot of seed funding and also have support from the EU Horizon 2020 program. Iceye claims to have squeezed radar imaging sensors into a microsatellite platform 20 times lighter than current government SAR satellites, and using COTS electronics allows for cost reduction and a faster technology update cycle.

Let’s see how many years they take to set up their microsatellite SAR constellation and transmission network. I wonder how their ground segment will be set up. Will they give small receiving antennas to regular consumers, just like portable satellite communication boxes or satellite telephones? Or will they deliver their near-real-time products through web / ftp?

Efforts are also underway to deliver SAR imagery in near-real-time from existing SAR satellites. Take a look at this recent blog post about DLR’s experiment with the Space Data Highway for near-real-time SAR image delivery.

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About WQ

I received my PhD (2013) in Remote Sensing, Earth and Space Science at the Dept. of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA, under a Fulbright fellowship. Currently, I'm an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Space Science at Institute of Space Technology (IST), Islamabad, Pakistan, where I have been a founding member of the Geospatial Research & Education Lab (GREL). My general expertise is in Remote Sensing where I have worked with various remote sensing datasets through my career, while for my PhD thesis I specifically worked on Remote Sensing using SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) and Oceanography, working extensively on development of techniques to measure ocean surface currents from space-borne SAR intensity images and interferometric data. My research interests are: Remote sensing, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery and interferometric data processing & analysis, Visible/Infrared/High-resolution satellite image processing & analysis, Oceanography, Earth system study and modelling, LIDAR data processing and analysis, Scientific programming. I am a reviewer for IEEE Transactions on Geoscience & Remote Sensing, Forest Ecosystems, GIScience & Remote Sensing, Journal of African Earth Sciences, and Italian Journal of Agronomy. I am an alumnus of Pakistan National Physics Talent Contest (NPTC), an alumnus of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, a Fulbright alumnus, and the Pakistan National Point of Contact for Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). I was an invited speaker at the TEDxIslamabad event held in Nov., 2014. I've served as mentor in the NASA International Space App Challenge Islamabad events in April 2015 and April 2016.

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