Years go by fast. By the time one ends, it’s easy to forget everything that has happened over the past 365 days. Now, as 2021 comes to a close, we’d like to take a look back.
In a time when the world is in the clutches of a pandemic and the “Word of the Year” is “vaccine,” it’s important to remember and appreciate the exciting and successful moments we’ve been able to experience despite everything else that’s happening around us.
ICEYE can proudly look back on a successful year full of achievements – big and small. There have been remarkable "World’s firsts" in the New Space SAR satellite industry, building new solutions for natural catastrophe management and response, the strengthening of ICEYE's business, and amazing new additions to the ICEYE team.
We’d like to highlight and celebrate some of the most exciting news of 2021 with you in this blog.
Stunning World’s Firsts
This year, ICEYE took a further leap forward in persistent monitoring by adding seven more satellites to our SAR satellite constellation, the largest in the world. One of these new satellites is a proof-of-concept mission for the next satellite generation. This brings the total number of successfully launched ICEYE satellites to 14!
We also celebrated the three-year launch anniversary of our ICEYE-X2 satellite, the first commercial radar satellite weighing under 100 kg. The ICEYE-X2 ushered in the era of New Space SAR satellites and has been providing game-changing satellite imagery ever since.
"Today we celebrate the three-year launch anniversary of ICEYE-X2, our second radar satellite in orbit! As a demonstration of our satellites' design and reliability, X2 continues its journey and has been providing data ever since. Happy anniversary, ICEYE-X2! Red heart"— ICEYE (@iceyefi) December 3, 2021
ICEYE also launched two unique imagery products in 2021: Scan mode and Spot Extended Area image, both of which are designed to provide extended coverage. Scan mode imagery is perfect for covering vast areas up to 10,000 km2 and it’s the first of its kind in the New Space industry. Spot Extended Area is the first Spot mode imagery on the market that can image areas up to 225 km2 with the same high resolution as ICEYE’s standard Spot mode images.
Another major success has been our revolutionary Daily Coherent Ground Track Repeat (GTR) capability. By bringing satellites into an orbit where they're able to pass the exact same location on Earth every 24 hours, we can deliver a unique and truly ground-breaking capability - persistent monitoring at its finest - by enabling coherence change detection.
"This series of daily #SAR satellite images shows a section of the 60-kilometer-long #MuldrowGlacier in Alaska demonstrating the forward movement of the ice flow highlighted in blue. Read more about this world-first Daily Coherent GTR from ICEYE. https://hubs.li/H0SbP2m0"— ICEYE (@iceyefi) July 15, 2021
ICEYE has taken a major step in its endeavor to build an unparalleled portfolio of natural catastrophe monitoring solutions, beginning with floods. As the only company capable of observing this hazard, we have monitored more than 500 potential flood events across the globe in 2021. To illustrate the value of our real-time situational awareness and globally available flood insights, the 18 Flood Briefings that we published have been downloaded more than 2,300 times and our dedicated pages were visited by more than 15,000 people. We have also begun to expand our services to include damage detection solutions for wind, forest fires, and earthquakes.
Pioneering New Space
Over 2021, we’ve also taken big leaps forward with our business and in our industry, continuing to push the boundaries of what SAR can do and how it can be used by governments, scientists, companies and humanity to see, understand and react to events happening on Earth.
Partnering with Well-Known and Future-Oriented Players
Over the past year, we have continued to partner with pioneering players in a range of industries, including MDA, U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Technical Center (SMDTC), In-Q-Tel, NOAA, G42, AON, McKenzie Intelligence Services, Descartes Underwriting , and Swiss Re, just to name a few. Together we are pushing the limits of what’s ever been possible in Earth observation and enabling more timely, accurate and strategic responses to many of the changes we face as humanity.
- ICEYE is proud to have been approved as a full European Space Agency (ESA) Earthnet Third Party Mission. This programme opens access to ICEYE SAR data for researchers and developers worldwide.
- As the first European New Space company, ICEYE signed an agreement to become a Contributing Mission to the Copernicus Programme, the largest satellite Earth observation programme in the world.
- ICEYE started the Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiative ‘AI4SAR’ this year. The ESA Φ-lab presented us with the opportunity to develop SAR-based machine learning (ML) applications with the goal to lower the SAR barrier to entry.
Growing local presence in the World
We also recently opened a new office in Luxembourg, which will play a central role in the future development of our machine learning (ML) and AI capabilities. Around the mid-year mark, we also expanded our satellite offering in Japan to strengthen the operation of services for the Japanese government and local commercial organizations. And back in April, we also opened a new spacecraft manufacturing facility in Irvine, California, to ramp up production, research and customer operations in the U.S.
ICEYE’s growing New Space accomplishments have been widely recognized and received a lot of interest in the media, with ICEYE featuring in some of the world’s biggest and most important journals, newspapers, news channels, and magazines.
Our first satellite launch this year was reported in SpaceNews, the tracking of a volcano eruption with Daily Coherent Ground Track Repeat (GTR) was featured by the BBC, Forbes published an article on ICEYE’s wide-area Scan imagery, and the New York Times, Washington Post and NBC News used various ICEYE flood monitoring analyses in their coverage of flood events. And CNBC also reported on ICEYE’s expansion in the U.S.
"Read about ICEYE's real-time analysis of #floods in the UK in @BBCScienceNews article from @BBCAmos."— ICEYE (@iceyefi) January 22, 2021
In addition to a lot of media attention, ICEYE also received two big awards for our contribution to the New Space industry in 2021: the Polish WNP Award 2021 and the EARSC Company Award 2021. Our CEO & Co-Founder, Rafal Modrzewski, was also given the Ambassadors of Polish Innovation Award.
ICEYE Data for Charitable and Humanitarian Use
One of our core missions at ICEYE is to democratize the data that comes off our SAR satellites, making it available to a wider and more general audience than ever before. We believe our SAR images have great potential to help humanity better respond to many of the perils we face. As an approved partner in The International Charter Space and Major Disasters, we are providing high-quality SAR imagery at no cost to relief organizations and authorized users in the event of major natural catastrophes.
We are thrilled to be able provide SAR images to help these organizations help people. By arming them with timely and accurate truth data, they are able to provide faster and more efficient disaster management and relief in affected areas. ICEYE SAR imagery was requested by teams responding to numerous disaster events, including floods, flash floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and oil spills.
Here’s to Another Successful Year
As we bid farewell to 2021, we are focused on kicking off 2022 with a lot of momentum. We’re looking forward to the great opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in SAR imagery and the satellite market, as well as in the insurance and disaster relief industries.
But our success as a company has always been thanks to our people! Over 2021, we have welcomed a number of new world-class experts from a broad range of fields and backgrounds, increasing in size by more than a third. And we will continue to strengthen our teams in 2022 as well.
We are always excited to welcome more talents to the ICEYE family, so please do take a look at our open positions and apply!
And now, we wish you Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year!