Geospatial intelligence firm Kleos Space has joined forces with US private aerospace company Spaceflight to launch a cluster of satellites through Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable rocket next year.
The cluster – known as the Polar Vigilance Mission – will comprise four satellites that will be launched into a 500 kilometre sun-synchronous orbit.
“Our vision is to deliver a trustworthy, cost-effective, reconnaissance data product with revisit rates that will help disrupt illegal activities, protect borders and save lives,” Andy Bowyer, chief executive of Luxembourg-based Kleos, said.
“The launch means we take another step on that journey, collecting more data, opening additional markets … providing a higher value product for our existing customer base.”
The Polar Vigilance Mission will be Kleo’s second cluster of satellites in space. Its first cluster is currently awaiting launch at the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle – the third generation launch vehicle of India. The company confirmed it will be launched shortly.
Founded in 2017, Kleos aims to own, launch and operate up to 20 clusters of satellites to create a constellation that provides critical coverage for monitoring global events and key locations.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable rocket will significantly cut down the cost of the mission.
Founded by billionaire chief executive Mr Musk, SpaceX developed Falcon 9 – the world’s first reusable rocket to fly into earth orbit and beyond, which allows it to re-fly the most expensive parts of the rocket to drive down the cost of space access.
Kleo’s business model is to create subscription-based revenues from delivery of essential data to government and commercial entities around the globe.
The geospatial data is collected, downlinked from the satellites and then processed through the company’s proprietary algorithms, said Kleos, which has subsidiaries in the UK, the US and Australia.
“Once packaged into data products and transferred to our licensed subscribers ‘as-a-service’, the same data can be sold an unlimited number of times creating annuity-type revenues,” it added.