ICEYE Looks to Disrupt Synthetic Aperture Radar Satellite Market

Artist rendering of the first ICEYE SAR satellite X1. Credit: ICEYE.

What if you could put a Synthetic Aperture Radar on small satellite? Would this disrupt the existing market? That’s exactly what Finnish company ICEYE has done and is trying to do. 

My guest this week on the SpaceQ podcast is Pekka Laurila, Chief Financial Officer and co-founder of ICEYE.

ICEYE is a Finnish company with offices in Poland and the U.S. that bills itself as having the first Synthetic Aperture Radar, or SAR, satellite in a microsatellite form weighing in at less than 100kg.

By comparison traditional SAR satellites are much larger needing a lot of power to accomplish their mission. The well known Canadian RADARSAT-2 satellite weighs in at 2200kg and the next-generation RADARSAT Constellation Mission satellites each weigh in at 1400kg.

ICEYE is looking to disrupt the traditional Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite market.

Their First Image

The ICEYE X1 was launched on January 12th of this year on an Indian PSLV-C40 rocket. Shortly after the satellite was in orbit it began communicating with ground control and sent back its first image.

According to ICEYE “the full image transmitted to the ground from ICEYE-X1 exceeded 1.2GB of raw data and spans an area of roughly 80 x 40 km on the ground. ICEYE-X1 obtained the image in the span of ten seconds, traveling at a speed of more than 7.5 km/s and at an altitude exceeding 500 km. Matching what ICEYE simulated prior to the launch, the final data resolution from the first satellite reaches 10 x 10 meters.”

“With this single image, the ICEYE-X1 mission is already a full success regarding our most important goals, but this is just the beginning,” said Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and co-founder of ICEYE. “We are now working to increase the range of incidence angles and to more than double the ground resolution for ICEYE-X2. We are looking forward to launching our next mission as soon as this summer.”


Noatak National Preserve, Alaska. In the image, North is roughly to the right
Noatak National Preserve, Alaska.
In the image, North is roughly to the right. Credit: ICEYE.

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About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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