Kleos Space is preparing to launch four cubesats to fly in formation and geolocate radio frequency signals. Credit: Kleos Space

LOGAN, Utah – Spire Global and Kleos Space of Luxembourg announced plans Aug. 6 to create new satellite-derived products aimed at enhancing maritime safety.

“The collaboration between Kleos and Spire will provide unprecedented detection of dark vessels,” Kleos CEO Andy Bowyer said in a statement. “The Safety at Sea Collaboration will provide an effective tool for governments, maritime agencies and other organizations with an interest in keeping our seas safe.”

San Francisco-based Spire operates dozens of cubesats equipped with sensors to gather atmospheric data and receivers to track ships and aircraft. Kleos Space is preparing to send its first four cubesats, built to detect radio transmissions and pinpoint their origin, into low Earth orbit in August as the primary payload on a Rocket Lab Electron launch vehicle.

By combining Spire Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Kleos Radio Frequency data, the companies plan to create products to help government and maritime safety organizations spot ships attempting to evade detection.

“This collaboration represents the first time that an AIS provider and RF satellite provider have entered into an agreement where these datasets will be integrated,” according to the Aug. 6 news release.

“Spire Maritime shares a desire to illuminate parts of the world just as Kleos does,” John Lusk, Spire Maritime general manager, said in a statement. “We continue to partner with the most innovative industry experts to create new access to highly relevant datasets for customers worldwide.”

After the four Kleos cubesats launch, Kleos plans to move them into a loose tetrahedron formation, Bowyer said in a recent interview. With four satellites, Kleos will gather daily worldwide observations, he added.

Kleos is funding its first satellites through an initial public offering on the Australian Stock Exchange. With revenue from the data produced by the first four satellites, Kleos plans to buy and launch additional satellite to provide more frequent observations, Bowyer said.

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...