Finland-based Iceye announced an agreement May 17 to develop a five-satellite constellation for Bayanat, a United Arab Emirates geospatial analysis firm, and Emirati fleet operator Yahsat.

The first Iceye-built Emirati synthetic aperture radar satellites is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2024. Iceye also is providing the ground segment.

“The partnership between Bayanat and Iceye, in collaboration with Yahsat, will drive the development of a sovereign EO [Earth-observation] ecosystem which will enable us to provide cutting-edge solutions, whilst contributing to skill development, scientific advancements and sustained economic growth,” Bayanat CEO Hasan AlHosani said in a statement. “We are excited to be at the forefront of this dynamic and rapidly evolving field and looking forward to developing a commercial space program in the UAE.”

Prior to the launch, Iceye will provide Bayanat with access to Iceye’s own constellation “so Bayanat can start utilizing radar satellite imagery for the benefit of the public and private sector customers in the UAE,” Rafal Modrzewski, Iceye CEO and co-founder, said in a statement.

In addition to satellites and ground services, Iceye will provide Bayanat with computers, antennas and software associated with the operations of a mission control center.

In contrast to electro-optical imaging satellites, SAR satellites can capture images during the day, at night and in all weather conditions.

With the data collected, Bayanat intends to produce maps, detect change, perform geospatial analytics and develop artificial intelligence algorithms. Yahsat is joining forces with Bayanat and Iceye as part of its campaign “to strengthen the UAE’s leadership in the space sector in MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region,” Yahsat Group CEO Ali Al Hashemi said in a statement.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...