The space-powered radio frequency reconnaissance data-as-a-service company will launch its first satellites aboard the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) PSLV C49 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Chennai, India.
In an update issued to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) on 31 January 2020, Kleos Space CEO Andy Bowyer said, “While commercial launch capability has increased dramatically over recent years, launch volatility remains a challenge for all space-based companies. Despite the minor launch delay from December 2019, we are and will continue to work hard to get the satellites operational and generating revenues as quickly as possible. We remain confident that the decision to re-select the Scouting Mission launch provider and orbit will significantly increase the long-term value of our data, providing optimised increased revisit rates over challenging equatorial regions.”
Kleos satellites will launch into a 37-degree inclination orbit, covering crucial shipping regions for defence and security customers including the Strait of Hormuz, South China Sea, Australian coast, Southern U.S. coast as well as the East and West African coasts.
When launched, Kleos’ Scouting Mission satellites will form the foundation of a constellation that delivers a global picture of hidden maritime activity, enhancing the intelligence capability of government and commercial entities when the Automatic Identification System (AIS) is defeated, imagery unclear or targets out of patrol range. Its independent maritime intelligence data products will significantly improve detection of illegal activities at sea, including drug and people smuggling, illegal fishing and piracy.
“Our independent radio frequency intelligence data is highly attractive to government and security organisations, enabling unprecedented detection of illegal maritime activity, irrespective of whether the vessel is using a broadcast transponder system.”
Once post-launch testing of the maritime geolocation data downlink with the ground service provider is completed the company will generate revenues from several different types of contracts with initial customers – AUS$630,000 of which was invoiced in December 2019 and received in January 2020, according to the ASX update.
These include MOUs with EarthLab to develop commercial applications for the insurance sector, maritime safety collaboration with AIS provider Spire Global, and three commercial pre-order contracts from South American data integrators.
The company has also signed collaborative agreements with an undisclosed nation state to enhance that country’s maritime geospatial intelligence capabilities using Kleos Scouting Mission data, and a channel partner and data integrator agreement with UK geospatial intelligence and analysis company Geollect, which will integrate Kleos data to improve its dark vessel tracking capability and generate analytical intelligence.
A wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary to integrate and sell its maritime ISR data into U.S. defence and security government departments, agencies and industries has also been formed. The U.S. subsidiary, Kleos Space Inc, enables Kleos to access U.S. government funding and projects which are otherwise restricted to U.S. entities, such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding, U.S. Air Force Accelerator program and other federal defence projects.