In Irvine, California, Iceye sets up its U.S. headquarters and production plant

At its current Iceye United States headquarters in Irvine, California, Iceye has built a satellite production plant, research and production laboratory, and a project operations center for United States-licensed satellites. Jerry Welsh, Iceye U.S. Chief Executive Officer, informed SpaceNews, “A large portion of our nation’s space manufacturing base and hubs for creativity are based here in Southern California.” “There’s still an incredible reservoir of expertise, and we work closely with several of the other space firms in the area.”

Iceye, headquartered in Finland, launched Iceye U.S. in early 2020. According to Welsh, the corporation revealed plans to extend its U.S. organization on April 15 in reaction to increased government as well as commercial demand for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery and data. Welsh explained that “U.S. consumers, mostly U.S. government customers, tend to partner with U.S. entities.” From his Irvine workplace, Welsh said, “There are often some security activities that make things even simpler to operate here.”

Iceye has announced a deal with In-Q-Tel, the nonprofit investment arm of the U.S. intelligence establishment, on April 15. Simon Davidson, an In-Q-Tel managing partner, stated in a statement that “Iceeye’s world-class SAR satellites, as well as market-leading global scope, allows for [imagery] capturing regardless of the time of day or environmental conditions.” Investment of In-Q-Tel is valued at an undisclosed amount, but Welsh described it as a “significant affirmation of what the business is doing.” Welsh added that In-Q-Tel is “a way to link our technologies to new United States government clients.” Since deploying four satellites in the year 2019, Iceye is planning to launch ten this year. Six satellites are in space, delivering SAR data and images to government and industrial users.

Welsh said the recent commercial directives provide information on commodity trading and environmental protection. In the meantime, Iceye continues to win government clients. On the Friday night in the month of January, a U.S. government official emailed Iceye to seek imagery of the coastal oil spill. Iceye was able to use a satellite to collect the images late at night, which is then sent to the consumer early the next morning. Welsh said, “The photograph clearly displayed the site of the oil leak, and it was so precise that they were able to measure the thickness of oil depending on the image.”

ICEYE-X1 (also identified as ICEYE POC1, COSPAR 2018-004D; POC refers to “Proof Of Concept”) was launched into orbit from Satish Dhawan Space Centre on January 12, 2018, by a PSLV-XL rocket on a PSLV-C40 flight. ICEYE-X1 was the very first Finnish commercial satellite and the very first satellite under 100 kg to bear a synthetic-aperture radar (70 kg). The second spacecraft, ICEYE-X2 (also identified as ICEYE POC2, COSPAR 2018-099AU), was deployed into orbit by the SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket in December 3, 2018, at about 18:34 UTC.

The deployment occurred from Vandenberg Air Force Base, SLC-4E. The third ICEYE X payload was deployed on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from the New Zealand’s Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on May 5, 2019. On July 5, 2019, a Soyuz-2-1b rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome Site 1S deployed the fourth and fifth satellites, ICEYE-X4 (ICEYE POC4, COSPAR 2019-038D) as well as ICEYE-X5 (ICEYE POC5, COSPAR 2019-038C).

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