In a recent memorandum announced on March 11, Audacy, a startup dealing with space communication decided to collaborate with Iceye, a radar satellite startup from Finland in order to study and explore that inter-satellite data relay as planned by Audacy and support Iceye’s plan of an artificial constellation.
With the help of this relay network, observation companies like Iceye can gather more imagery and more frequently, according to the chief executive of Audacy, Mr. Ralph Ewig. Currently, Iceye-X2 is functional and crosses the ground satellite 25 times a day. Though these passes enable Iceye to send better commands to the spacecraft and have improved radar imagery along with data, an increase in the number can only be beneficial.
The major plan of Audacy is to offer communication services globally by 2021 by launching a number of satellites in medium orbit of the Earth weighing hundreds of kilograms. The first satellite launched by Audacy in December was called Audacy Zero and it was a CubeSat demonstrator. It was launched by Falcon 9 of SpaceX as a ridesharing mission and was one among 64 satellites send up in the flight. However, Audacy has been able to establish any communication with the CubeSat since then. This impending problem with Audacy Zero will not have any considerable impact on the constellation scheduling though, insists Amanda Chia, the business development head. The reason why they want to launch their own satellite was to understand the problems in communication that were prevalent among the customers and this feedback would immensely help them to develop advanced radio for relays in space.
Iceye also has a plan set up to launch five satellites this year with a gradual improvement in the resolution as well as data gathering capability. Iceye-X2 is already doing a better job than the first satellite launched by Iceye way back in 2008 as it produces data that is 5 times more effective. Initially, the partnership between the two companies will mainly concentrate on satellite tasking but as the development of networks takes place, Iceye will take data as well as imagery using the communications constellation.