Kleos Space S.A has signed a contract with Innovative Solutions in Space B.V. (ISISPACE) to build and support its third satellite cluster of four satellites, the Polar Patrol Mission (KSF2), scheduled to launch at the end of 2021 onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9.
Specialising in small-satellite solutions, the Netherlands-based ISISPACE has more than 15 years of experience in the design, manufacture, and operation of nanosatellites and is currently also preparing Kleos’ second satellite cluster, the Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1) for dispatch to the launch site week commencing 31st May.
Under the contract, ISISPACE will provide a turn-key solution including design, development, production, testing, launch integration services and early orbit phase support. The Polar Patrol Mission create an opportunity for higher value subscriptions, increasing revenues by adding more frequent cover over commercial areas of interest and additional data products to the Kleos inventory. The final mission costs incurred are anticipated to be compared to publicly available satellite costs and within the envelope of the cost of the Kleos Scouting Mission advised within the prospectus. The contract includes an optional addendum for a further three satellite clusters (12 further satellites in total) that will facilitate constellation growth with volume purchasing advantages. Funding methods for subsequent clusters will be determined by the directors and will be through a combination of revenue, equity or borrowings depending on capital market conditions prevailing at the time.
Launching into a 500-600km Sun Synchronous orbit, Kleos’ third satellite cluster doubles the company’s coverage over both poles, complementing the Scouting Mission and Polar Vigilance Mission satellites, thereby enhancing global coverage. Data derived from the Scouting Mission satellites is expected to commence to early adopter customers shortly. Kleos’ Polar Vigilance satellites are on track for a mid-2021 launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9, following the recent successful completion of key development milestones with ISISPACE.
Kleos’ satellites collect data that is used to detect and geolocate radio frequency transmissions, enhancing the detection of illegal activity, including piracy, drug and people smuggling, border security challenges and illegal fishing. Its global activity-based data is sold as-a-service to governments and commercial entities, complementing existing commercial datasets to improve their intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
ISISPACE has been selected by Science and Technology Facilities Council’s RAL Space, to provide a 12-Unit CubeSat platform to support the SPEQTRE mission. This project sets out to build and fly a satellite Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) testbed that will use pioneering QKD technology to test the secure distribution of cryptographic keys over globe-spanning distances.
Our team will be working in close cooperation with RAL Space to develop the satellite platform, responsible for establishing the optical link needed for beaming QKD bi-directional signals. ISISPACE will be in charge of the design, integration and testing of both the platform and software and will support RAL Space with the payload integration.
“As a Dutch company, we are proud to have received RAL Space’s trust in this project and being part of this emerging quantum technology development. Regarding its promising impact on data security improvement, we are pleased to provide our 12U platform, equipped with the latest generation subsystems and instruments, specially developed for this range of demanding and challenging missions. We look forward to supporting the SPEQTRE team in achieving all their targets, resorting to our 15 years of experience and heritage in turn-key satellite solutions to customers all over the globe. This project is an excellent basis for possible further cooperation in this exciting field of space technology”, highlights Jeroen Rotteveel, founder and CEO at ISISPACE.
Kleos Space S.A. confirms its second satellite cluster, the Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1), has successfully completed a hardware critical design review milestone for a launch mid-year onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9. Conducted, in the Netherlands, by satellite developer ISISPACE, passing the
milestone ensures that Kleos’ Polar Vigilance Mission satellites can enter the assembly and verification phase – an exciting stage leads to final integration, testing and delivery of the satellites for launch.
The KSF1 Polar Vigilance Mission satellites are scheduled for a mid-2021 launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9, under a rideshare contract with Spaceflight Inc. The satellites will be launched into a 500-600km Sun Synchronous Orbit, complementing Kleos’ Scouting Mission 37o orbit, which successfully launched in early November 2020 and is in the commission and test phase.
Kleos’ satellites will detect and geolocate radio frequency transmissions to provide global activity-based intelligence, enhancing the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of governments and commercial entities when tracking systems are defeated, imagery unclear or targets out of patrol range.
We are pleased to announce that ISISPACE and the Royal Thai Air Force completed (RTAF) the handover of the Napa-1 satellite to the RTAF Space Operations Center (SPOC). A team of RTAF satellite operators were trained “on the job” in the COVID-19 quarantined area of their SPOC in Thailand, to operate the Napa-1 6U Earth observation satellite, the first satellite of the RTAF. The satellite houses a Gecko RGB Camera as primary payload, creating images with a 39-meter ground resolution, and a demonstrator of the Simera TriScape Camera for images down to 5-meter ground resolution.
With the completion of this training and the Final Acceptance Review, the satellite system, including ground segment, is formally handed over by ISISPACE to the RTAF satellite operators, who have taken over full control of Napa-1.
While the completion of this milestone is realized quite a bit later than originally planned due to a delay in launch resulting from launch failure of an earlier flight, followed by the worldwide pandemic situation, postponing the launch of Napa-1 all the way to September 3, 2020, we are very proud to have worked with the RTAF team on this interesting capability building mission, providing the RTAF SPOC with the ability to work with a space asset in their daily operations.
ISISPACE remains under contract for maintenance to the RTAF ground station in Thailand and to provide support to the satellite operations, as required. In parallel, we are working towards completion of the second RTAF satellite, Napa-2, to get ready for soon.
Two student teams from InHolland Aeronautical & Precision Engineering each built a laser communication terminal as part of their 3rd year Design Build & Test (DBT) team project. Client for these terminals is the Space Industry Consultancy firm Eye On Orbit from Delft. In the process, the students were also mentored by a number of colleagues from the Dutch Optical SatCom ecosystem. Key objective for both the students and Erik Laan, the owner of Eye On Orbit and part-time InHolland lecturer, is to get hands-on experience in the process of building- and understanding these terminals from basic principles. First results have shown bi-directional communication links over a distance of 40 meters. This range is currently limited by the InHolland API building on the TU Delft campus and theoretically, much longer distances could be managed with the two terminals. The datarates are currently limited by the homegrown Arduino and Raspberry Pi implementations that the teams engineered but could be much improved as well. The current set-up is now ready for new students to further develop based on the recommendations from the two student teams that are finishing up their work before the 2021 summer break.