ICEYE's overall mission is to enable better decision making for everyone by providing timely and reliable Earth observation data. To achieve that goal, the company is developing its own synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) sensor technologies suitable for satellites under 100kg in weight. ICEYE is building a constellation of 18 SAR satellites by the end of 2020, which will enable a 3 hour on average revisit rate around the globe.
ICEYE-X1 is ICEYE's first proof-of-concept microsatellite mission with a SAR sensor as its payload. It was launched on 12 January 2018, on ISRO's PSLV-C40 rocket from Satish Dhawan Space Center in India. ICEYE-X1 is also the world's first SAR satellite in this size (under 100kg), enabling radar imaging of the Earth through clouds and even in total darkness. The satellite is the very first Finnish commercial satellite. The ICEYE-X1 demonstration mission ended in 2018 with very successful results in demonstrating the capabilities of the novel SAR sensor and captured more than 600 unique acquisitions from a variety of test sites.
The ICEYE-X2 satellite was delivered into orbit via Spaceflight's SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on 3 December 2018, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The satellite is operational and performing very well and has a design lifetime of three years. ICEYE-X2 features a range of technology improvements to increase the versatility and quality of the imaging data compared to ICEYE-X1. Improvements relate to items such as component choices, subsystem interfaces, software code, operations procedures, communication links, and optimization of power management. ICEYE-X2 possesses various imaging modes to provide imagery at high resolution and alternatively with a very wide swath to support different types of use cases. Representative use-cases for the data include monitoring sea ice movements or marine oil spills, and prevention of illegal fishing.