Luxembourg-based maritime data provider Kleos Space has successfully launched its four Patrol Mission satellites aboard the Transporter-4 SpaceX mission on April 1st 2022. The company says that the new cluster will help it detect illegal activity at sea such as drug and people smuggling by identifying electronic activity even if a vessel’s transponder is turned off.
- Kleos third satellite cluster successfully launched into a Sun Synchronous orbit from Cape Canaveral, Florida, onboard the Transporter-4 SpaceX mission
- Launched under a rideshare contract with Spaceflight Inc via a D-Orbit Orbital Transfer Vehicle
- Patrol satellites will provide a further 119 million km² per day collection capacity and add an additional X-Band radar payload
- Deployment from the Orbital Transfer Vehicle in the coming weeks will increase Kleos’ constellation to 12 satellites in orbit
The D-Orbit Orbital Transfer Vehicle carrying the four Patrol Mission satellites has been successfully deployed into a 500km Sun Synchronous orbit after being launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida. After the deployment of the Kleos satellites from the Orbital Transfer Vehicle, satellite builder, Innovative Solutions In Space (ISISPACE), will assist with Launch and Early Operation Phase (LEOP) support, including in-orbit system commissioning and final manoeuvring of the satellites into their operational formation.
The Patrol Mission satellites increase Kleos’ global data collection capacity by 119 million km² per day and incorporate additional frequency spectrum collection capabilities, enabling the geolocation of X-Band radar transmissions in the 8500-9600 MHz range. X-Band maritime radar is commonly used for collision avoidance on board ships even when tracking systems such as Automatic Identification System (AIS) are turned off. The successful launch and deployment will grow Kleos’ low earth orbit constellation to 12 satellites and improve average daily revisits over key areas of interest for the customer base, e.g. over the area between 15-degrees latitude north and south of the equator to around five times a day.
Kleos CTO Vincent Furia said, “Each of our new clusters feature greater data collection and geolocation capability. In a little over a year, we have launched three satellite clusters with our fourth coming middle of this year. The pace at which we are building our constellation is a testament to the quality of our team and supplier partnerships.
The additional X-Band geolocation capability will provide greater consistency and accuracy for customers, enabling them to locate ships that are emitting X-Band radar signals such as those that might be involved in illicit activities and evading Automatic Identification Systems (AIS).
“While our initial Scouting Mission satellites were focused on mid latitude collections including the South China Sea, the Vigilance and Patrol satellites increase our capabilities and provide global coverage. Additional clusters increase not only the volume of geolocation data available for our customers to purchase, but also its value in establishing baseline patterns of life and improving the detection of illegal activity such as drug and people smuggling, border security challenges and piracy.
“Kleos’ accessible and cost-effective GEOINT dataset complements and integrates with existing commercial data, providing our customers with a more complete view of what’s happening on the ground.”
Press release by Kleos Space