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 (SDR) on each of the four-kilogram cubesats. Clyde Space also will equip the cubesats with antennas to maximize detection of AIS messages, according to an ÅAC Microtec news release issued on 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 their business by building and operating spacecraft for customers.
ORBCOMM processes more than 30 million AIS messages from more than 200,000 vessels per day for government and commercial customers, according to the news release. For ORBCOMM, this contract demonstrates the firm’s commitment to the AIS market.
Rolf Hallencreutz, ÅAC Microtec chairman, said this project with ORBCOMM represents a major milestone for ÅAC Microtec and Clyde Space as it is a collaboration with an established, leading data services company as well as because of the firm’s strategic move to a satellite service model.
John Stolte, ORBCOMM’s EVP of technology and operations, said the company is pleased to partner with ÅAC Microtec and Clyde Space to enhance the firm’s existing AIS service with two, state-of-the-art, next-generation satellites to continue providing customers around the world with the best service offering for AIS data.