Having a real-time communication channel with satellites is a growing need for New Space firms. Satellite radar firm ICEYE will use Audacy’s inter-satellite data relay network to enable near-immediate tasking for taking images of the Earth at any time.
“ICEYE is launching radar imaging satellites to provide governments and commercial industries with timely and reliable imaging. Audacy’s communications network complements the approach we’ve used so far, and helps us bring additional value to the market,” said Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and co-founder of ICEYE. “We’re eager to provide our customers with radar satellite imaging at unprecedented timelines — in the future measured in just minutes.”
Today, nearly all satellite imaging companies need to wait for a satellite to pass over a ground station for sending order to take pictures or download them. The cycle of waiting for tasking, taking pictures, and then downloading images in a store-and-forward fashion creates delays when today’s users want imaging faster for business and disaster relief decision-making.
“We are building the new communications backbone for the emerging space economy and Audacy’s network is well-placed to serve a wide variety of customers, including the growing geospatial intelligence community,” said Dr. Ralph Ewig, CEO of Audacy. “Real-time connectivity will expand the capabilities of Earth observation services across the globe and will rapidly seed product development for our earliest customers.”
Audacy is building a network of ground facilities and medium Earth orbit (MEO) relay satellites to delivery real-time connectivity to government and commercial users, charging users by data moved across the network or a flat-rate for guaranteed bandwidth on the network. The company expects to launch its first relay satellites in 2021 to enable seamless low Earth orbit coverage.
Competitors in the satellite data-relay field include Kepler Communications and Analytical Space. Kepler plans to roll out its data relay network in a few years while Analytical Space plans to leverage on-board storage, software-defined radio, and laser downlinks to move data in bulk.