TAMPA, Fla. — British maritime surveillance venture Horizon Technologies has ordered two more cubesats from AAC Clyde Space, which will operate them after securing their launches next year.

The satellites will listen for signals from ships operating clandestinely, helping customers that include the U.K.’s National Maritime Information Centre (NMIC) tackle piracy and other illegal activities.

They will join Amber IOD-3, which AAC Clyde Space is building for deployment from the International Space Station this summer.

Horizon Technologies is prime contractor for the U.K.’s Amber IOD-3 cubesat signals intelligence program, part of the In-Orbit Demonstration (IOD) initiative run by government-backed nonprofit Satellite Applications Catapult.

The additional Amber satellites come a month after Horizon Technologies secured Series A funding in the single-digit millions of dollars, led by private equity firm Maven Capital Partners.

Sweden-headquartered AAC Clyde Space will build the two satellites at its site in Glasgow, Scotland, as part of a managed services contract worth 4.6 million British pounds ($6.5 million). 

The agreement includes securing two satellite launches in the second half of 2022 and handling operations and data delivery.

“We are seeing growing demand for our managed services from customers who want increased access to data from space, but don’t want the added responsibility of running their satellites,” AAC Clyde Space CEO Luis Gomes said.

“The same trends are also fueling the growth of our space data as a service — where customers will outsource the design, launch and ownership of satellites to companies like AAC Clyde Space.” 

AAC Clyde Space’s agreement with Horizon Technologies also includes the option to be extended for covering additional satellites.

Horizon Technologies CEO John Beckner said in May that the venture is planning an initial constellation of six satellites, enabling worldwide coverage with latency under one hour.


Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...