Luxembourg-domiciled space-based radio frequency (RF) reconnaissance data collection and provision company Kleos Space announced on Thursday that its next satellite cluster would be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. This will be Kleos’ second satellite cluster, the first set to be launched soon on an Indian Space Research Organisation PSLV C49 rocket.
This second cluster is designated the ‘Polar Vigilance Mission’ and its satellites will be placed in 500 km Sun synchronous orbits. The first cluster is called the ‘Kleos Scouting Mission’ and its satellites will be in orbits inclined 37˚ (relative to the Earth’s equator). Each cluster has four satellites. Kleos aims to own, launch and operate up to 20 such clusters.
Strictly speaking, Kleos has signed a contract with space launch rideshare company Spaceflight Incorporated, which arranges launches for small, micro- and nano-satellites as secondary payloads on space rockets. Spaceflight Inc is placing the Kleos satellites, which are nanosatellites, on the Falcon 9. The launch of this second cluster is set for the middle of next year.
“Our vision is to deliver a trustworthy, cost effective, reconnaissance data product with revisit rates that will help disrupt illegal activities, protect and save lives,” explained Kleos CEO Andy Bowyer. “The launch of the Polar Vigilance Mission means we take another step on that journey, collecting more data, over new areas opening additional markets whilst also providing a higher value product for our existing customer base.”
The two clusters will complement each other. “The Kleos business model is to create subscription-based revenues from delivery of essential data to government and commercial entities around the globe,” explained the company. “Kleos will be the first company to fly clusters of four satellites to accurately detect and locate the usage of RF spectrum by legitimate and illegitimate actors. The data is collected and downlinked from the satellites then processed through the company’s proprietary algorithms.”
The company has subsidiaries in Australia, the UK and the US. It has already secured pre-orders for its services and is pursuing more than 100 active opportunities. Spaceflight Inc is a Japanese-owned US company. American private-sector space rocket, spacecraft and space transport services company SpaceX was founded by South African-born engineer and entrepreneur Elon Musk. SpaceX recently executed the world’s first ever commercial crewed space mission, to the International Space Station.