SAN FRANCISCO – Iceye has established a satellite factory, research and development laboratory and mission operations center for US-licensed spacecraft at Iceye’s new US headquarters in Irvine, California.
“Much of our country’s space manufacturing base and innovation center is here in Southern California,” said Jerry Welsh, US CEO of Iceye, to SpaceNews. “In addition, there is an amazing talent pool and we work closely with several other space companies in the region.”
Finland-based Iceye founded Iceye US in early 2020. The company announced plans on April 15 to expand its US organization to meet growing government and commercial demand for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images and data. to respond, said Welsh.
“US customers, especially US government customers, prefer to work with US companies,” said Welsh. “There are also certain security measures that make work here a lot easier,” said Welsh from his Irvine office.
Iceye also announced on April 15 an agreement with In-Q-Tel, the US intelligence community’s nonprofit investment organization.
“Iceye’s world-class SAR satellites and their market-leading global coverage make this possible [imagery] Capture regardless of the time of day and weather conditions, ”said Simon Davidson, managing partner of In-Q-Tel, in a statement.
Iceye does not disclose the value of In-Q-Tel’s investment, but Welsh called it “important endorsement of what the company is doing”. In-Q-Tel provides “a means to connect our technology with new US government customers,” added Welsh.
Iceye is preparing to launch 10 satellites this year, after four launched in 2019. The company has six satellites in orbit that deliver SAR data and images to government and business customers.
Recent trade orders include data on commodity trading and environmental safety, Welsh said.
Meanwhile, Iceye continues to attract government customers.
In January, a US government official contacted Iceye on a Friday evening to request pictures of an oil spill on the coast. Iceye was able to commission a satellite to receive the images at night that it delivered to the customer early Saturday morning.
“This picture clearly showed the location of the oil spill and was so specific that they could estimate the thickness of the oil from the picture,” said Welsh.