Luxembourg-based Kleos Space has four new RF sensing satellites in orbit and secured $19 million in funding to launch four more in 2021.
Kleos’ first four satellites were put into a 575 kilometer 37 degree inclined orbit by an Indian ISRO PSLV launch on November 9, 2020, the first launch for the PSLV since December 2019. Other customers on the launch included four Spire Lemur-2 satellites.
“This launch marks an important milestone for Kleos to start delivering our commercial and independent data to government agencies, the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) community and organisations interested in locating threats, assets or those in need of search and rescue,” said Kleos CEO Andy Bowyer..
The company is providing “RF Reconnaissance Data-as-a-Service” from space and plans to launch and operate a total of 20 clusters of satellites to provide “critical coverage” for monitoring global events and key locations around the globe.
Kleos says it has “over 100” customers worldwide in its current pipeline and expects to generate first revenues “in the coming months” with three products. The Guardian RF service provides unprocessed RF data, enabling customers to conduct their own go-location analysis and signals intelligence. Guardian LOCATE is a processed geo-located RF data set ready for further analytics within GEOINT and data fusion programs while Guardian UDT (user-defined data type) is a user-defined customized data set allowing for selection of specific areas of interest, ground station, level of security, and level of processing by the customer.
Depending on conditions, Kleos says it can geo-locate an RF source with anywhere between 200 meters to 3 kilometers of accuracy with daily revisits in its current configuration. A second cluster of satellites is expected to be launched in mid-2021 into a polar orbit, providing additional coverage of equatorial areas plus adding north and south areas of the world followed a third cluster to be launched at the end of 2021.
On November 10, Kleos announced it had secured $19 million to build and launch another two satellite clusters– 4 satellites per cluster – with “strong institution and sophisticated investor support.” It will need the funding since other companies are also diving into the RF world, including U.S.-based HawkEye 360 and France’s Unseenlabs. HawkEye 360 has one cluster of three satellites in orbit and expects to launch a second cluster by the end of the year, with five more clusters of satellites financed and under development for launch in 2021 and early 2022. Unseenlabs is expecting to launch its BRO-2 and BRO-3 satellites onboard a RocketLab launch expected to take place sometime the week of November 15 and plans to have 20 to 25 satellites in orbit by 2025.