MilitarySpace

Iceye and the US Army have formed a research partnership

Iceye U.S., which is a division of Finnish SAR (synthetic-aperture radar) satellite provider, has created a research and development collaboration with the US Army Space and Missile Defense Technical Center (SMDTC). By email, Iceye U.S. CEO Jerry Welsh said, “This arrangement establishes a platform for the US Army to evaluate Iceye’s flight-proven competencies in the framework of the US Army’s next-generation technology advances.”

SMDTC and Iceye will collaborate to see how the Army can profit from access to the SAR imagery and data under the terms of the agreement. To address various Army as well as Defense Department requirements, the parties will collaboratively explore a variety of areas, such as SAR data downlink, SAR satellite tasking, image dissemination, and image processing.

“The United States Army is looking for economical and versatile SAR as well as other sophisticated sensor technology to boost its multiple systems and missions,” SMDC’s Space Directorate head, Col. Matt Anderson, said in a statement. “We value high-quality, frequent-visit commercial SAR because it offers day-night, all-weather imaging as well as complements national satellite systems.”

Iceye has the largest fleet of the commercial SAR satellites, with 14 satellites launched thus far. In 2022, the business wants to expand its constellation by at least ten satellites. In a statement, Iceye U.S. president Eric Jensen stated, “We look forward to collaborating extensively with SMDTC as we offer Iceye’s first-of-its-kind capabilities to a range of United States Army experiments and demonstrations.”

According to a November 18 news release, the Army is keen to acquire SAR data through its present Common Ground Terminal as well as prospective mobile ground stations being created by the Army’s Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node program.

The National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, among other US government agencies, are getting more enthusiastic about the possible applications for SAR satellites, which collect imagery via clouds and darkness. Iceye U.S. is headquartered in Southern California, where it is “establishing a business structure to meet safety and clearance needs,” according to Welsh. “We manufacture Iceye spacecraft in our Irvine, California, plant and possess a warm assembly line to launch new technologies.” We’ve also built up a Mission Control Center that’s open 24 hours a day to respond to the government’s security and tasking needs.”

Iceye already has a partnership with In-Q-Tel, the nonprofit investment arm of the US intelligence establishment. “Complementary commercial radar imagery is definitely in demand to assist the intelligence community as well as military activities,” Welsh added. Iceye is also collaborating with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to assist the agency in monitoring and responding to environmental risks such as illegal fishing operations, oil spills, marine trash accumulation in the ocean, as well as burned areas following forest fires.

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