Kleos Commercial RF Monitoring CubeSat ConstellationLaunch Mission Status References
In October 2020, Kleos Space S.A. of Luxembourg awarded ISISpace (Innovative Solutions In Space B.V. ) with HQs in Delft, The Netherlands, to provide turnkey satellite build and support for the Kleos Space – Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1) to launch in mid 2021 on the SpaceX Falcon 9. With 15 years of experience in providing turn-key small-satellite missions, ISISpace is well placed to provide a reliable build and launch support for Kleos’s KSF1 cluster of four satellites. 1)
Kleos S.A. is a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance DaaS (Data-as-a-Service) company. The objective of the Kleos' satellites is to 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.
Kleos Space CEO Andy Bowyer said: “We are excited to be progressing our second satellite cluster with ISISpace (– a leader in the small satellite market. Entering the assembly and verification phase of the satellites is a crucial developmental milestone and ensures we are on schedule to launch in mid-2021. The KSF1 satellite cluster will complement our Scouting Mission satellites, improving the value of our geolocation maritime intelligence data.”
Kleos confirms its second satellite cluster of four 6U CubeSats (8 kg each), the Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1), has successfully completed a hardware CDR (Critical Design Review) milestone, scheduled for a launch in mid-year 2021 onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle. 2)
Figure 1: Illustration of the 6U CubeSat platform (image credit: ISISpace)
ISISPACE’s CEO Jeroen Rotteveel states: “We are pleased to design and build this second satellite cluster for Kleos, to be completed on a fast-track schedule made possible by building on our extensive nanosatellite expertise and heritage. Despite the challenging timeline given the current global situation, we are keen to enter this next crucial phase of satellite assembly and validation and bringing our design to reality.”
Some Background: Kleos Space was founded in 2017 (with founding by the Luxembourg government) by experienced Space engineers to develop a new Space enabled Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) concept and disruptive in-Space technologies. Kleos is developing GEOINT (Geospatial Intelligence) DaaS that when deployed in conjunction with mapping or other imagery within data fusion platforms provides an innovative method of identifying activity of interest to the customer.
Kleos will launch & operate satellite infrastructure that will generate commercial ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) and geo-services data, and sell DaaS internationally via subscription to government agencies, the intelligence community, end users, or businesses interested in locating threats, assets, targets or emergency beacons/those in distress.
The KSM -1 (Kleos Scouting Mission-1) of Kleos of four 6U CubeSats, built by GomSpace, were launched as co-passenger payloads on 7 November 2020 on a PSLV-DL vehicle of ISRO from SDSC SHAR on the east coast of India (into an orbit of 37º inclination). The KSM-1 mission was the world’s first four satellite cluster flown in a formation for precision geolocation capability. Data from the KSM1 Scouting Mission is being delivered to customers and the satellites are being used to develop many space and ground segments for the Company.
Kleos is a space-enabled radio frequency reconnaissance DaaS (Data-as-a-Service) company with operations in Luxembourg, the US and UK. Kleos locates radio transmissions in key areas of interest around the globe, efficiently uncovering data points to expose human activity on land and sea. Using clusters of four satellites each, proprietary radio frequency data (RF Data) is collected, processed and delivered to customers worldwide. Customers, including analytics and intelligence entities, will license data on a subscription basis (Data-as-a-Service aka DaaS), for government and commercial use cases – aiding better and faster decision making. Kleos’ first satellite cluster, the Kleos Scouting Mission (KSM), successfully launched in November 2020 is performing as a test and technology demonstration whilst collecting data.
Figure 2: An interview with Vincent Furia, Kleos CTO and Alex Johnson, Kleos Sales Executive about the technical aspects of the satellite clusters and the data provided (video credit: Kleos Space)
• January 20, 2022: Kleos Space, a space- powered radio frequency reconnaissance DaaS (Data-as-a-Service) company, has received a data evaluation contract from Advanced Ground Information Systems, Inc. (AGIS). 3)
- AGIS simultaneously processes up to 200,000 real-time sensor reports to provide command and control communication capabilities to US military, government and first responders. Its Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) system enables data interoperability between U.S. and NATO C5ISR systems to provide a common operational picture. AGIS’ C5ISR system will be using Kleos’ electronic intelligence (ELINT) data to complement other intelligence data sources to provide hostile and illegal shipping awareness to its customers with the ability to direct forces.
- Under the contract, AGIS will have access to Kleos’ Guardian Locate data product for evaluation purposes. The product delivers processed radio frequency transmissions collected over key areas of interest irrespective of the presence of positioning systems.
- Kleos’ Chief Revenue Officer, Eric von Eckartsberg, said, “AGIS has a long history of providing critical data to those in the field. We’re excited for our geolocation sensor data to be integrated into their command-and-control systems, which will help bringing Kleos’ products to a wide array of government customers around the world. Kleos’ data complements existing datasets and can be used to validate or tip and cue other sources to improve the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.”
- AGIS’ CEO, Cap Beyer, said “We are looking forward to working with Kleos, and providing users the ability to integrate Kleos’ intelligence information with a mature multinational C5ISR system and other intelligence sources.”
- Kleos’ radio frequency geolocation data enhances 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. Kleos currently has eight satellites in orbit with launches for its Patrol and Observer Missions (KSF2) scheduled for April (on SpaceX Transporter-4) and June 2022, respectively.
Figure 3: Kleos Space, a space-powered radio frequency reconnaissance DaaS company, has received a data evaluation contract from AGIS (image credit: Kleos Space)
• January 13, 2022: Kleos Space S.A. announces the Kleos Patrol Mission (KSF2) satellites, planned to launch in January 2022, have been remanifested to launch on the SpaceX Transporter-4 mission scheduled for April 2022. 4)
- Kleos is partnering with launch services provider Spaceflight Inc. to deploy its Patrol Mission (KSF2) satellites to a sun synchronous orbit. Originally scheduled for the SpaceX Transporter-3 mission in January 2022, Kleos’ Patrol Mission launch was postponed when the Spaceflight orbital transfer vehicle tasked with launching and deploying Kleos’ satellites experienced technical issues. Spaceflight quickly identified an alternative launch option.
- Delays are a common occurrence in the industry, and we are committed to navigating them quickly to ensure our customers’ satellites still get to orbit in a timely manner,” said Tony Frego, VP of mission management at Spaceflight Inc. “Through our portfolio of launch vehicles, we were able to secure capacity for Kleos on a new launch that will occur in only a few months. We are committed to minimizing the impact of any delays and ensuring our customers’ missions are a success.”
- Kleos CEO Andy Bowyer commented: “As our four Patrol Mission satellites were undamaged, we have been able to mitigate the delay by quickly rescheduling the launch for April 2022. Launching into a sun synchronous orbit, our Patrol Mission satellites will significantly increase our data collection capability and complement the eight satellites we already have in orbit. The launch delay does not impact the revenue generating life of the mission.”
- Kleos’ fourth satellite cluster, the Observer Mission (KSF3), is unaffected by the Patrol Mission delay and remains on track to launch in mid-2022.
• December 16, 2021: On Tuesday December 14, 2021, Kleos inaugurated its Luxembourg Headquarters in the presence of the Luxembourg Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot. 5)
- Investing for future growth, the new facility incorporates the company’s key functions under the one roof.
- Located in the newly-built ParcLuxite Business Park in Kockelscheuer, Luxembourg, Kleos’ new headquarters will be home to the company’s engineering and operations facilities, housing environmental test chambers and a dedicated clean room space for the assembly, integration and test of sensitive space hardware as well as its mission control centre. It enables Kleos to scale its global geolocation data-as-a-service, and further support its additional engineering teams in the UK and the US.
- ParcLuxite is a 65-hectare complex dedicated to innovation and high-tech companies on the historical site of the Poudrerie de Luxembourg. It is considered Luxembourg’s equivalent of a mini–Silicon Valley.
Figure 4: On December 14, 2021, Kleos inaugurated its Luxembourg Headquarters in the presence of the Luxembourg Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot (image credit: KLeos Space)
• October 19, 2021: Luxembourg-based startup Kleos Space has ordered four more RF reconnaissance satellites, securing a launch in mid-2022 to improve data collection and revisit times. 6)
- Innovative Solutions in Space (ISISPACE) of the Netherlands is building the venture’s fourth cluster of satellites, known as its Observer Mission, which have booked a launch with SpaceX through U.S.-based rideshare broker Spaceflight.
- ISISPACE and Spaceflight supported Kleos Space’s second cluster of satellites that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Transporter-2 mission sent to sun synchronous orbit June 29.
- They are also working on the startup’s third cluster, which Kleos Space said is on track to launch onboard a Falcon 9 rocket in January 2022.
- Similar to the second and third clusters, the Observer Mission satellites aim to add up to a further 119 million kilometers squared of data collection capacity per day.
- The cost to build and launch the fourth cluster is expected to be around 4.5 million Australian dollars ($3.4 million), Kleos Space said.
- Kleos Space has plans for as many as 20 clusters of satellites, designed to detect and geolocate RF transmissions for applications ranging from combating piracy and people smuggling to illegal fishing.
- Trading publicly on stock exchanges in Germany and Australia, Kleos Space said Sept. 6 it had raised 12.6 million Australian dollars ($9.4 million) to grow its constellation.
- In a business update attached to the funding announcement, the company said it was closing in on 170 “qualified deals” for its services, including 48 “signed evaluation contracts with customers, that include a free trial period to evaluate data products prior to revenue generation.”
- Kleos Space also said its constellation is showing better-than-expected performance in a recent technical paper.
- “We are rapidly building our constellation, utilizing funds from our recent capital raise to commit to our fourth satellite cluster build and launch,” Kleos Space CEO Andy Bowyer said in a statement.
- “Each new launch enables us to improve satellite data collection and increase revisits over key areas of interest for our customers.”
• June 4, 2021: Kleos Space S.A, a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a- service (DaaS) company confirms the successful dispatch of its cluster of four Polar Vigilance Mission satellites (KSF1) from Delft in the Netherlands to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. 7)
- Under a rideshare contract with Spaceflight Inc., the satellites will lift-off aboard the Spaceflight SXRS-5 / SpaceX Transporter-2 mission no earlier than June 2021. The satellites have been built by small satellite specialist Innovative Solutions In Space B.V (ISISPACE).
- The Polar Vigilance Mission will provide global data that will increase Kleos overall coverage density in the equatorial region and also cover areas North and South of the Kleos Scouting Mission satellites which successfully launched on in November into a 37º inclined orbit.
- Kleos uses clusters of four satellites to collect radio transmissions over key areas of interest around the globe and after processing a geospatial data product is delivered to analytics and intelligence entities for government and commercial use - efficiently uncovering data points of human activity on land and sea.
- The Kleos clusters enable up to six antenna pairs to be used in proprietary multilateration algorithms - aiding data accuracy.
- Kleos CEO Andy Bowyer said, "ISISPACE have done an incredible job delivering four satellites in a very short time period to our exacting standards, we look forward to them entering service in our growing constellation - more satellites, means more data for our customers increasing their insight into human activity in key areas of interest."
• May 25, 2021: 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. 8)
- 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 500-600 km 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.
- Kleos Space CEO Andy Bowyer said, “ISISPACE has proven to be an ideal development partner for Kleos, with our second satellite cluster nearing completion ahead of a mid-year launch. Targeting a constellation of up to 20 satellite clusters, each new satellite cluster will increase sensing and intelligence gathering capabilities generating higher value data products for subscribers.”
- Jeroen Rotteveel, CEO of ISISPACE, said, “We are proud to continue our partnership with Kleos, utilising our extensive nanosatellite experience to build and design their third satellite cluster within a relatively short timeframe. As a strategic partner, we look forward to supporting them as they continue to build and launch their small satellite constellation.”
• March 2, 2021: Kleos Space S.A. (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1,) a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company, 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. 9)
a) Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1) satellites have passed a hardware critical design review milestone with satellite builder ISISPACE.
b) Satellites now enter Assembly Phase with ISISPACE for a mid-2021 launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle.
c) Kleos’ Scouting Mission satellites (KSM1) in commission and test phase.
- 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 500-600 km Sun Synchronous Orbit, complementing Kleos’ Scouting Mission 37º orbit, which successfully launched in early November 2020 and are 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.
- Kleos Space CEO Andy Bowyer said: “We are excited to be progressing our second satellite cluster with ISISPACE – a leader in the small satellite market. Entering the assembly and verification phase of the satellites is a crucial developmental milestone and ensures we are on schedule to launch in mid-2021. The KSF1 satellite cluster will complement our Scouting Mission satellites, improving the value of our geolocation maritime intelligence data.”
- ISISPACE’s CEO Jeroen Rotteveel states: "We are pleased to design and build this second satellite cluster for Kleos, to be completed on a fast-track schedule made possible by building on our extensive nanosatellite expertise and heritage. Despite the challenging timeline given the current global situation, we are keen to enter this next crucial phase of satellite assembly and validation and bringing our design to reality.”
- As a strategic partner, ISISPACE further supports Kleos with its knowledge and experience to provide review and inputs for Kleos’ future needs and capabilities.
Launches of the Kleos Space constellation (in reverse order)
Launch 3: Kleos Space S.A. of Luxembourg successfully launched their third satellite cluster, the Patrol Mission (KSF2), on April 1, 2022 at 16:24 UTC, onboard the SpaceX Transporter-4 rideshare mission, carrying 40 satellites. The D-Orbit Orbital Transfer Vehicle carrying the four Patrol Mission satellites (four 6U CubeSats) has been successfully deployed into a 500 km SSO after being launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida. 10)
After the deployment of the Kleos satellites from the Orbital Transfer Vehicle, the satellite builder, Innovative Solutions In Space (ISISPACE), will assist with Launch and Early Operation Phase (LEOP) support, including on-orbit system commissioning and final maneuvering of the satellites into their operational formation.
The Patrol Mission satellites increase Kleos’ global data collection capacity by 119 million km² per day and incorporate additional frequency spectrum collection capabilities, enabling the geolocation of X-band radar transmissions in the 8500-9600 MHz range. X-Band maritime radar is commonly used for collision avoidance on board ships even when tracking systems, such as Automatic Identification System (AIS), are turned off.
The additional X-Band geolocation capability will provide greater consistency and accuracy for customers, enabling them to locate ships that are emitting X-band radar signals such as those that might be involved in illicit activities and evading AIS.
The successful launch and deployment will grow Kleos’ LEO constellation to 12 satellites and improve average daily revisits over key areas of interest for the customer base, e.g., over the area between 15 degrees latitude north and south of the equator, to around five times a day.
Figure 5: Artistic rendition of a Kleos Space Scouting Mission satellite on-orbit (image credit: Kleos)
While Kleos Space’s initial Scouting Mission satellites were focused on mid-latitude collections, including the South China Sea, the Vigilance and Patrol satellites increase the firm’s capabilities and provide global coverage.
Kleos CTO, Vincent Furia, said, “Each of our new clusters feature greater data collection and geolocation capability. In a little over a year, we have launched three satellite clusters with our fourth coming middle of this year. The pace at which we are building our constellation is a testament to the quality of our team and supplier partnerships. Kleos’ accessible and cost-effective GEOINT dataset complements and integrates with existing commercial data, providing our customers with a more complete view of what’s happening on the ground.”
Launch 2: Kleos Space S.A. successfully launched its second satellite cluster of four 6U CubeSats, the KSF1 (Kleos Space Polar Vigilance Mission), on 30 June 2021 (19:31 UTC) aboard the Spaceflight SXRS-5/SpaceX Transporter-2 Mission from Cape Canaveral, FL. KSF1 was a passenger payload on Transporter-2 as were a total of 88 small passenger payloads on this flight. 11)
Orbit: The KSF1 satellites launched into a 525 km Sun Synchronous orbit with an inclination of 97.6º, increasing Kleos’ coverage to the north and south of the 37º inclination of the Kleos Scouting Mission 1 (KSM-1) satellites, which successfully launched in early November 2020.
Launch 1: The first cluster of four Kleos satellites KSM-1 (Kleos Scouting Mission-1) were launched on 7 November 2020 on the PSLV-C49 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, India. 12)
Orbit: The KSM-1 satellites were into an orbit of about 500 km with an inclination of 37º.
After the deployment the commissioning phase has now commenced. The operations team have successfully made contact with all 4 Satellites. It has been confirmed that they have detumbled, battery status is as expected and onboard watchdogs are operational.
• April 25, 2022: Kleos Space announced plans April 25 to offer customers dedicated, taskable radio frequency monitoring capabilities. 13)
- It’s a new business model for Kleos, a Luxembourg based company that operates three clusters of four satellites to detect RF signals and pinpoint their location. To date, Luxembourg-based Kleos has provided RF monitoring data to government and commercial customers.
- “Our discussions with government departments, national security agencies and commercial entities have highlighted a growing need for a dedicated mission capability, including unrestricted access,” Kleos CEO Andy Bowyer said in a statement.
- With the new Mission-as-a-Service model, Kleos will offer customers “exclusive access to Kleos’ dedicated, in-orbit radio frequency reconnaissance satellite clusters for fixed periods of time and capacity,” according to the April 25 news release. “Each Mission-as-a-Service contract will be tailored to suit the customer requirements and needs including on the percent of satellite capacity needed, level of taskability required and corresponding data rights.”
- At the same time, Kleos will continue to sell data from its constellation, which eventually could include as many as 20 satellite clusters. Kleos sent its third cluster to orbit April 1 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare mission. Another cluster of four Kleos satellites is scheduled to launch in a couple of months.
- Through Kleo’s Data-as-a-Service business, multiple customers gain access to the same commercial dataset. In contrast, the Mission-as-a-Service model “is tailored to meet the need of specific intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance requirements of an individual customer mission,” Bowyer said.
- The data service model relies on high volume to offset low contract values, while Mission-as-a-Service contracts are expected to have a higher price tag.
- “This blend of offering reflects the balance of needs between the commercial and non-commercial customer we have witnessed developing over the last few years,” Bowyer said.
• April 4, 2022: Kleos Space S. A., a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company, confirms the first two Patrol Mission satellites (KSF2-C and KSF2-D) have been successfully deployed from D-Orbit’s orbital transfer vehicle, ION Satellite Carrier, and contact has been established. The remaining two Patrol satellites (KSF2-A and KSF3-B) are expected to be deployed into a different orbit from the transfer vehicle in the coming weeks to establish the four satellites’ formation. 14)
- D-Orbit’s orbital transfer vehicle is a, self-propelled satellite deployer. Carrying Kleos’ four Patrol Mission satellites, it was successfully launched into a 500 km Sun Synchronous orbit from Cape Canaveral in Florida aboard the SpaceX Transporter-4 mission on 1 April.
- Kleos’ technical team has established bi-directional communication with the KSF2-C and KSF2-D satellites, and in-orbit system commissioning has commenced. As all four satellites are deployed from the orbital transfer vehicle, satellite developer Innovative Solutions In Space will assist with Launch and Early Operation Phase (LEOP) support, including uploading and testing payload software, recalibrating the Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS), and manoeuvring the satellites into their operational formation. Improvements to the Patrol Mission’s flight software is expected to significantly reduce commissioning times.
- The Patrol Mission expands Kleos’ low earth orbit constellation to 12 satellites and increases radio frequency data collection capability to 253 million km2 per day. The cluster features new frequency spectrum capabilities, enabling geolocation of X-band radar transmissions in the 8500 -9600 MHz range, commonly used for maritime vessel traffic control.
- Kleos Space CTO, Vincent Furia said, “D-Orbit’s orbital transfer vehicle enables us to precisely deploy our nanosatellite cluster into orbit. By deploying pairs of satellites into two slightly different orbital planes, it enables us to establish our four satellites’ formation more quickly, while also saving propellent. Our third satellite cluster almost doubles our constellation’s data collection capability and improves revisit rates over key areas of interest. The Patrol Mission satellites add the ability to geolocate X-Band radar frequencies to further enhance our existing maritime situational awareness capabilities. Our constellation geolocates radio frequency transmissions to improve the detection of illegal activity, providing unprecedented intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities when tracking systems such as AIS have been switched off.”
• October 6, 2021: Kleos Space presented a technical paper at the GEOINT 2021 Symposium (5-8 October 2021, St. Louis, MO) that showed better-than-expected performance of its RF reconnaissance satellites. 15)
- The Luxembourg-based startup tested the RF-mapping capabilities of its first CubeSat cluster by homing in on a 4.2-watt beacon on the Republic of Cabo Verde, an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Kleos estimates of the position of the beacon had errors ranging from 0.32 to 32 kilometers. Each position was described with a “confidence ellipse.” The size of the ellipse reflected the quality of the RF signal received and the level of interference present at the time the signal was acquired.
- The highest-confidence estimate pinpointed the beacon to an ellipse that extended 4.5 km along the semi-major axis and 0.26 km along the semi-minor axis.
- Vincent Furia, Kleos chief technology officer, called the results of the demonstration “better than expected,” adding that Kleos will improve “revisit rates over key areas of interest” by launching additional satellite clusters.
- Kleos launched its first cluster of four CubeSats in 2020 and its second cluster in June on the SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter-2 rideshare mission. Another Kleos cluster is scheduled to reach orbit on the next SpaceX Transporter rideshare flight, currently scheduled for late December.
- In the years ahead, Kleos plans to launch as many as 20 clusters of RF-reconnaissance satellites.
Figure 6: Kleos Space operates a constellation of RF reconnaissance satellites (image credit: Kleos Space)
• July 30, 2021: Kleos Space S.A. has established a partnership with Japanese based Japan Space Imaging Corporation (JSI) to support Kleos' geolocation data promotion in Japan. 16)
- Under the agreement, Kleos' RF geolocation data will enhance Japanese customers in their operations, such as defense of the homeland, and identification of illicit activities in territorial and international waters.
- Kleos' Group Chief Revenue Officer, Eric von Eckartsberg, said, "We are excited to be partnering with JSI, who brings more than two decades' experience serving the Japanese customers with space-based surveillance and data intelligence products. Japan's vast coastline stretches more than 18,480 miles, providing significant border protection challenges for Japanese authorities".
- Acting as Kleos' promotional partner, JSI will provide direct tactical and promotional support. Kleos has successfully launched its first two satellites clusters, targeting a constellation of up to 20 clusters.
- The Kleos Scouting Mission (KSM1) launched into a 37-degree inclination in November, providing coverage over key areas of maritime interest including the South China Sea and Strait of Hormuz.
- These demonstrator satellites have completed commissioning and are delivering test data to early adopter customers. Kleos launched its second cluster of four satellites, the Vigilance Mission (KSF1), at the end of June.
- Launched into a 525 km Sun Synchronous orbit from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the four Polar Vigilance satellites are in currently progressing through the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) and commissioning phase. Kleos' third satellite cluster, the Patrol Mission, is scheduled to launch at the end 2021 onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9.
• Deployed into a 525 km SSO from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the Polar Vigilance satellites further enhance Kleos’ global coverage and data collection capability and broaden the coverage range of Kleos’ first cluster of four Kleos Scouting Mission (KSM1) satellites. Satellite developer, Innovative Solutions In Space (ISISPACE), is performing the Launch and Early Operation Phase (LEOP) support, which includes commissioning of all spacecraft systems and maneuvering the four satellites into operational formation (Ref. 11).
- Kleos CTO Miles Ashcroft said: “Despite the schedule for the KSF1 satellites from placing the contract to launch being exceptionally ambitious, Kleos’ second cluster has been launched within the time window allocated and on budget. We must acknowledge ISISPACE and Spaceflight as well as our Kleos’ technical team’s work, I am proud of the whole team who have worked together empathetically, and it has made a massive difference with an incredible outcome that cannot be overstated. Kleos is well on track to see its third constellation in orbit by the end of this year. With each cluster launched, coverage and volume of data increases, commensurately increasing our revenue opportunities.”
- Kleos satellites collect data that is then processed to detect and geolocate radio frequency activity to improve the detection of hidden and illegal activities including piracy, drug and people smuggling, border security challenges and illegal fishing as they can detect transmissions, independent of other systems such as those used in active tracking, or when imagery is unclear, or targets are out of normal aircraft patrol range.
• July 1, 2021: Bright Ascension Ltd. of Dundee and Edinburgh, UK, an industry-leading space software technology provider, is reporting that its five latest GenerationOne flight software deployments were launched onboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Transporter-2 mission on 30 June, 2021. Bright Ascension provided the spacecraft software to Kleos Space’s Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1) and the Faraday Phoenix satellite, built as part of In-Space Missions’ Faraday program to become a Service Mission Provider. 17)
- Kleos Space’s satellites detect and geolocate radio frequency transmissions to deliver a global picture of hidden maritime activity for enhanced intelligence capability.
Passenger Paylods of the SpaceX Transporter-2 mission
The launch service provider Spaceflight Inc. of Seattle announced on 11 May 2021 it will be launching 36 customer payloads to Sun Synchronous orbit aboard the SpaceX Transporter-2 mission, scheduled to launch no earlier than late June 2021. The company purchased three ports on the mission, dubbed ‘SXRS-5’ by Spaceflight, and is managing the launch integration and mission management services for 36 payloads, including six microsatellites, 29 cubesats and one hosted payload. The mission also represents the first time the company will fly two different orbital transportation vehicles (OTVs) and the launch of the industry’s first-ever electric propulsion vehicle, Sherpa-LTE1. 18)
A listing of the passenger payloads is provided in the Transporter-2 file on the eoPortal.
1) ”Kleos Space signs turnkey satellite build deal with ISISpace,” TechInvest, 23 October 2020, URL: https://techinvest.online/kleos-space-signs-turnkey-satellite-build-deal-with-isispace/
2) ”Kleos completes key satellite development milestone for mid-year SpaceX launch,” ISISPACE, 2 March 2021, URL: https://www.isispace.nl/news/kleos-completes-key-satellite-development-milestone-for-mid-year-spacex-launch/
3) Melanie Delannoy, ”AGIS signs Kleos’ data evaluation contract,” Kleos Space Press Release, 20 January 2022, URL: https://kleos.space/press-releases/agis-signs-kleos-data-evaluation-contract/
4) Melanie Delannoy, ”Kleos’ Patrol Mission satellites to launch in April,” Kleos Space ASX Release, 13 January 2022, URL: https://kleos.space/asx-releases/kleos-patrol-mission-satellites-to-launch-in-april/
5) Melanie Delannoy, ”Inauguration of Luxembourg Headquarters,” Kleos Space Press Release, 16 December 2021, URL: https://kleos.space/press-releases/inauguration-of-luxembourg-headquarters/
6) Jason Rainbow, ”Kleos Space orders reconnaissance satellites for 2022 launch,” SpaceNews, 19 October 2021, URL: https://spacenews.com/kleos-space-orders-reconnaissance-satellites-for-2022-launch/
7) ”Kleos Polar Vigilance Mission Satellites dispatched to Cape Canaveral for Launch,” Space Daily, 4 June 2021, URL: https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Kleos_Polar_Vigilance_Mission_Satellites_dispatched_to_Cape_Canaveral_for_Launch_999.html
8) Andra Gentea, ”Kleos engages ISISPACE to build third satellite cluster,” ISISPACE News, 25 May 2021, URL: https://www.isispace.nl/news/kleos-engages-isispace-to-build-third-satellite-cluster/
9) ”Kleos completes key satellite development milestone for mid-year SpaceX launch,” Kleos Media Release, 2 March 2021, URL: https://kleos.space/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/20210302-KSF1-Milestone.pdf
10) ”Kleos Space’s Third Cluster Satellite Launch By SpaceX Is Successful,” Satnews, 4 April 2022, URL: https://news.satnews.com/2022/04/04/kleos-spaces-third-cluster-satellite-launch-by-spacex-is-successful/
11) ”Kleos launches second cluster, Polar Vigilance Mission satellites now in orbit,” Kleos News, 1 July 2021, URL: https://www.corporatenews.lu/en/archives-shortcut/archives/article/2021/07/kleos-launches-second-cluster-polar-vigilance-mission-satellites-now-in-orbit
14) ”Kleos’ first two Patrol satellites deployed from D-Orbit Transfer vehicle,” Kleos Press Release 4 April 2022, URL: https://kleos.space/press-releases/kleos-first-two-patrol-satellites-deployed-from-d-orbit-transfer-vehicle/
15) Debra Werner, ”Kleos reveals results of RF reconnaissance demonstration,” SpaceNews, 6 October 2021, URL: https://spacenews.com/kleos-space-demonstration-2021/
16) ”Kleos establishes partnership with Japan Space Imaging Corporation for promotion in Japan,” Space Daily, 30 July 2021, URL: https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Kleos_establishes_partnership_with_Japan_Space_Imaging_Corporation_for_promotion_in_Japan_999.html
Sorensen, ”Spaceflight Inc. Readies 36 Customer Spacecraft and
Two OTVs for Launch on SpaceX’s Transporter-2 Mission,”
Spaceflight, 11 May 2021, URL: https://spaceflight.com/spaceflight-inc-readies-36-customer-spacecraft-and-two-otvs-for-launch-on-spacexs-transporter-2-mission/
The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: ”Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors” (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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