ICEYE is a private start-up space company that designs and builds remote sensing micro-satellites that are equipped with radars, aka Synthetic Aperture radars (SAR). These satellites can provide information from areas where there is no infrastructure and make it possible to observe the Earth even in the dark and through clouds, which is not possible with regular satellite cameras.
The company is aiming for a constellation of 18 SAR micro-satellites in collaboration with ESA, using available off-the-shelf components as much as possible, despite increased risk of hardware failures.
ICEYE claims to be the first commercial SAR company to provide Daily Coherent Ground Track Repeat (GTR) imaging, allowing the user to monitor patterns of life at a ground facility or a port. The GTR technology is a new method of really capturing SAR imagery, that is normally done every for 24 hours globally. The founders of the company are working on a technique to do it in eight hours.
ICEYE is based in Espoo, Finland and was the first commercial satellite company in the country.
The company was founded in 2014 by two engineering students, Rafal Modrzewski (CEO) and Pekka Laurila (CFO), as a spin-off of Aalto University’s University Radio Technology Department. Modrzewski and Laurila were learning about Nano-satellites and decided to commercialize their skills.
In 2015 ICEYE demonstrated that SAR satellites could be used to monitor hazardous icebergs and pack-ice that block shipping routes.
In August 2017 the company raised 13 million USD in funding, including from the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovations.
On January 12th, 2018 the company launched its first satellite, the ICEYE-X1 (ICEYE POC1), weighing under 100kgs, with the PSLV-XL launcher operated by ISRO from India.
The second satellite, ICEYE-X2 (ICEYE POC2) was orbited on December 3rd, 2018 with the SSO-A SmallSat Express Mission on a Falcon 9 rocket operated by SpaceX. The launch took place from the Vandenberg Launch complex in the USA.
In 2019 the company was awarded the Finnish Engineering Award, “a breakthrough in Finnish space technology”, and came with a cash prize of 30,000 euros.
On May 5th, 2019 the ICEYE-X3 satellite (aka ICEYE POC3) was launched with an Electron rocket from launch operator Rocket Lab of New Zealand. The payload was integrated into the Harbinger satellite for demonstration purposes. The launch was conducted as the ‘STP-27RD Mission of the Space Test Program (STP) of the US Amy Space & Missile Defense Command who financed this launch.
In October 2019, the company started offering commercial access to its 1m resolution SAR-imagery, generated by the three SAR satellites, ICEYE-X1, -X2 and -X3.
On July 5th, 2019, the fourth and fifth satellite, ICEYE-X4 and ICEYE-X5 SAR, were launched on a Soyuz-2 rocket operated by GK Launch Services, from Vostochny Cosmodrome launch site in Russia.
In June 2020, the company agreed to provide radar imaging data from its SAR satellite constellation to the International Charter Space and Major Disasters for use in monitoring and response activities. The images are provided at no cost to enable wider and more timely information access for disaster events worldwide. The International Charter provides Earth observation data for use in monitoring and response activities, acquired by the satellites of its 17 members, contributing partners and data contributors, to support disaster response.
ICEYE-X6 and -X7 SAR satellites were orbited on September 28th, 2020. The launch was executed with a Soyuz-2-1v launcher, operated by GK Launch Services, from Plesetsk launch site in Russia.
On January 24th, 2021 SpaceX’ Falcon 9 rocket launched ICEYE-X8, -X9 and -X10 with the record-setting Transporter-1 Mission, from the Cape Canaveral SLC40 launch complex in Florida. The ICEYE-X10 SAR satellite was US-built by R2 Space for the US Government and was renamed XR-1.
SpaceX orbited six additional satellites for the company, on June 6th 2021, four more ICEYE SAR satellites were launched with the Transporter-2 Mission and on January 13th, 2022 the Falcon 9 rocket launched ICEYE-14 and -16 with the Transporter-3 Mission.
On January 20th, 2022 ICEYE’s US subsidiary signed a contract with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to participate in the evaluation of commercial remote sensing companies operating SAR satellites.
On February 3rd, 2022 the company raised 136 million USD in a Series D investment round led by the longstanding backer, Seraphim Space, and with venture capitalists Molten Ventures from London. With the new funding, that includes a long-term ‘strategic’ financial commitment from defense giant BAE Systems, the company raised a total of 304 million USD for its global operations.
On May 25th, 2022 the company launched another five CubeSats on the SpaceX’ fifth SmallSat Transporter-5 Rideshare Program mission, orbiting 59 small spacecraft for various customers such as LEO satellite operators FOSSASat, GHGSat and satellite manufacturer Tyvak. The launch also included the 2nd and 3rd satellites built, licensed and operated by ICEYE US, a subsidiary of ICEYE. The newly launched ICEYE US satellites are licensed by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and two satellites are provided directly to the Brazilian Air Force to support environmental and national security objectives. The licensed satellite will be operated and controlled exclusively from the company’s 24/7 Mission Operations Center in Irvine California USA.
|Satellite||Mission||Launch Date||Launcher||Launch Operator|
|X1||PSLV-C40||Jan 12th, 2018||PSLV-XL||ISRO India|
|X2||SSO-A SmallSat Express||Dec 3rd, 2018||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X3||‘STP-27RD’||May 5th, 2019||Electron||Rocket Lab NZ|
|X4||July 5th, 2019||Soyuz-2||GK Launch RUS|
|X5||July 5th, 2019||Soyuz-2||GK Launch RUS|
|X6||Sept 28th, 2020||Soyuz-2||GK Launch RUS|
|X7||Sept 28th, 2020||Soyuz-2||GK Launch RUS|
|X8||Transporter-1||Jan 24th, 2021||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X9||Transporter-1||Jan 24th, 2021||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X10||Transporter-1||Jan 24th, 2021||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X11||Transporter-2||June 6th, 2021||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X12||Transporter-2||June 6th, 2021||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X13||Transporter-2||June 6th, 2021||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X14||Transporter-3||Jan 13th, 2022||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X15||Transporter-2||June 6th, 2021||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X16||Transporter-3||Jan 13th, 2022||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X17||Transporter-5||May 25th, 2022||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X18||Transporter-5||May 25th, 2022||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X19||Transporter-5||May 25th, 2022||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X20||Transporter-5||May 25th, 2022||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X21||Transporter-5||May 25th, 2022||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X22||Transporter-6||Jan 3rd, 2023||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X23||Transporter-6||Jan 3rd, 2023||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
|X27||Transporter-6||Jan 3rd, 2023||Falcon 9||SpaceX USA|
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