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Sweden’s ÅAC Microtec To Deliver Enhanced AIS Data Exclusively To ORBCOMM

The island of Mauritius in the Western Indian Ocean. Photograph courtesy of NASA.

ÅAC Microtec AB’s subsidiary, Clyde Space, announced on 9 April 2019 that it has partnered with ORBCOMM Inc., a global provider of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, to provide two next-generation Automatic Identification System (AIS) microsatellites that will enhance ORBCOMM’s industry-leading satellite AIS service offering.

As part of the project, Clyde Space will build and launch two AIS-enabled CubeSats, each hosting three dedicated AIS receivers, including a highly versatile Software Defined Radio (SDR)-based receiver. The AIS CubeSats weigh just 4 kg and feature an antenna concept to maximize AIS detections of all message types. In addition, ORBCOMM has an exclusive license for the low-latency AIS data provided by Clyde Space, enabling ORBCOMM to deliver a greater level of service over the long term to its global customers, which include cargo companies and maritime security agencies. The two spacecraft will be launched into Low-Earth Orbit, expected in 2020 on two separate missions.

This project, which represents a total value of approximately 54 million SEK (U.S.$5.9 million) over five years, will leverage a space-as-a-service model in which Clyde Space owns and operates the satellites to deliver AIS data exclusively to ORBCOMM and its customers. This model will become the foundation of ÅAC Microtec’s strategy to make access to other space data easier and more cost-effective for existing and future customers.

“This project with ORBCOMM represents a major milestone for ÅAC Microtec and Clyde Space, not only because it is a collaboration with an established, leading data services company, but also because of our strategic move to a satellite service model,” said Rolf Hallencreutz, Chairman of ÅAC Microtec. “These satellites demonstrate the maturity and performance of our CubeSat technology, which now supports hundreds of successful space missions. We look forward to working closely with ORBCOMM to deliver this service and thank them for choosing Clyde Space for this exciting next step in their AIS business.”

“We are pleased to partner with ÅAC Microtec and Clyde Space to enhance our existing AIS service with two state-of-the-art, next-generation satellites as we continue to provide our customers around the world with the best service offering for AIS data,” said John Stolte, ORBCOMM’s Executive Vice President of Technology & Operations. “ORBCOMM’s customers will benefit from more comprehensive global coverage, enhanced performance as well as the highest expected vessel detection rates in the industry over the long term.”

ORBCOMM’s AIS data service provides comprehensive and reliable global coverage, including over open oceans, processing over 30 million messages from well over 200,000 unique vessels per day for government and commercial customers worldwide. ORBCOMM’s satellite AIS service supports many applications including maritime domain awareness, search and rescue, environmental monitoring and maritime intelligence.

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