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INNOVATION: Iceye satellites deliver unbelievably sharp radar images

PortandTerminal.com, August 10, 2019

Iceye reveals stunning radar imagery of less than one-meter resolution

HELSINKI, FINLANDICEYE is a Finnish company that has developed a network of satellites that provide incredibly high-resolution pictures of Earth taken from space.

“We’ve always pushed back on what’s been considered impossible,” said the company’s co-founder CEO Rafal Modrzewski in an interview with BBC.

Before and After: A container terminal near Port Harcourt, Nigeria – detail under a metre across is visible to the radar in the photo on the right. Individual containers can now be resolved by the satellite from space.

The company recently publically released its first synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite imagery with a resolution of less than one meter. The results can be seen in the photo above.

The level of performance Iceye delivers is used to require spacecraft that weigh a tonne or more and cost in excess of one hundred million dollars. Iceye’s satellites though are the size of a suitcase and cost only a couple of million dollars to build.

Iceye co-founder & CEO Rafal Modrzewski

“Under one-meter resolution imaging from SAR satellites under 100 kilograms is a remarkable technological achievement,”

Iceye CEO Rafal Modrzewski

Iceye launched its first commercial microsatellite, Iceye-X1, in January 2018 and the second, Iceye-X2, in December 2018 to provide government and commercial customers with imagery day, night and through clouds.

The company’s goal is to have at least 18 satellites in the constellation by the end of 2020. “This amount is enough to provide images of any point on Earth every three hours on average” Modrzewski noted. Iceye secured an additional $34 million in funding in 2018 to help it pursue this objective.

Maritime applications

For a vast range of maritime uses, the currently available technologies have been stretched to their limits and are lacking in their frequency of reliable imaging. ICEYE’s revolutionary synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) technology has limitless ability to image sea through clouds and darkness, just as during the day. 

Iceye company website

The company promotes its technology as an ideal solution for a number of maritime applications including coastal security, oil spill monitoring and the prevention of illegal fishing.

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