SAN FRANCISCO – ÅAC Microtec subsidiary Clyde Space plans to build and begin operating in 2020 two cubesats equipped with Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers for Orbcomm in a contract valued at 54 million Swedish Krona ($5.9 million).
Under the contract, Clyde Space will install three dedicated AIS receivers including a receiver based on a software-defined radio on each of the four-kilogram cubesat. Clyde Space also will equip the cubesats with antennas to maximize detection of AIS messages, according to an ÅAC Microtec news release issued April 9.
Clyde Space will deliver AIS data gathered by the cubesats to Orbcomm under an exclusive license, marking an important step in ÅAC Microtec’s strategy to expand its business by both building and operating spacecraft for 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,” Rolf Hallencreutz, ÅAC Microtec chairman, said in a statement.
For Orbcomm, the contract demonstrates commitment to the AIS market, according to the news release.
“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,” John Stolte, Orbcomm executive vice president of technology and operations, said in a statement. “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 processes over 30 million AIS messages from more than 200,000 vessels per day for government and commercial customers, according to the news release.