TUCSON, Ariz., Aug. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Vector Space Systems, a micro satellite space launch company comprised of new-space industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas and Sea Launch, today finalized an agreement with Finnish-based Iceye to conduct 21 launches for Iceye's commercial SAR (synthetic aperture radar) satellite constellation. The payload flights, Vector's first customer flights since it started operations in early 2016, will be conducted over a four-year span as part of a larger partnership with Iceye.
The first test launch as part of this agreement was successfully completed July 30 in Mojave, which included hosting a prototype of Iceye's microsatellite's core computing and communications systems to test its electrical and mechanical resilience in a launch environment on Vector's P-20 sub-orbital launch vehicle. Iceye and Vector continue to explore future elements of their partnership related to space flight hardware development and data resale agreements.
"Since Vector formed earlier this year, we have moved rapidly toward an orbital capability using our micro satellite launch vehicle. To have a satellite constellation as important and large as Iceye choose Vector as its launch vehicle is a reflection of our technology, team and development program," said Jim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder of Vector Space Systems. "We look forward to many future successes together in our partnership with Iceye and to their success as a leading provider of radar imagery from orbit. Our orbital launch capabilities are on a fast track for a debut flight in 2018, and we are continuing with our propulsion development and qualification testing, as well as vehicle manufacturing."
Headquartered in Espoo, Finland, Iceye is focused on expanding the availability of SAR data to support decision making in diverse areas such as trade, exploration, relief efforts, farming, and environmental protection. Iceye is working to launch and operate a constellation of micro satellites that carry its own compact and efficient SAR sensor technology. Its first prototype satellite is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2017.
Iceye will develop its satellite constellation in Finland, and launch them into orbit using Vector's micro satellite launch system at select launch locations, including the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska (PSCA). This radar satellite constellation will provide day/night all-weather imaging of the Earth's surface, as well as monitoring of arctic regions in support of safety for the environment and maritime operations.
"Getting your satellite into orbit is one of the biggest challenges for new-space companies, but there just isn't the launch capacity right now," said Iceye CEO Rafal Modrzewski. "Iceye is excited to work with Vector Space Systems to help pioneer the commercialization of efficient and timely launches for micro satellites."
About Vector Space Systems
Vector Space Systems is a disruptive space innovator that connects space startups with affordable and reliable launch enabling platforms and vehicles at a cost point never before possible for accessing space. For more information, visit www.vectorspacesystems.com.
Iceye is building a satellite-based information service, providing the world with access to near-real-time imagery from space. The Iceye imaging radar instrument can image through clouds, obscuring weather and darkness, making the system more reliable for operational use than camera-based systems. More information: www.iceye.fi.
SOURCE Vector Space Systems