ICEYE building world’s largest SAR constellation with microsatellites

The company’s goal is to build a constellation that can image anywhere in the world within an hour, according to Modrzewski. Two years of funding toward nine satellites gets ICEYE halfway to its goal of 18, which the CEO said would be capable of imaging anywhere in the world in 3 hours. With the previous largest SAR constellation only totaling four satellites, ICEYE is on track to surpass that before 2020.

The cost to build and launch each ICEYE microsatellite is close to the recent amount of funding raised, Modrzewski said, meaning each comes with a price tag near $3 million. ICEYE has “identified over 50 improvements based on” the X1 mission, he added.

Despite those coming upgrades, ICEYE estimates its X2 satellite and others “will cost almost the same as X1,” Modrzewski said, “even though it has more capability and we are adding more subsystems.”

At the time of the X1 launch, ICEYE had a team of about “50 to 60 people,” Modrzewski said. The new funds will allow ICEYE to hire another 20 people by the end of this year, he said, with plans to double the team.

ICEYE’s previous investors, including True Ventures, Draper Nexus, Draper Associates, Seraphim Capital and Space Angels, all contributed to the latest round of funding, along with OTB Ventures, Tesi, Draper Esprit and Promus Ventures. With $53 million in total funding raised, ICEYE is valued at about $80 million, an amount Modrzewski said “was a standard Silicon Valley round” of funding.

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