Crowdfunded Ukrainian satellite has helped destroy more Russian armored vehicles than its own cost

29 September 2022, 04:05 PM
The Crimean bridge, captured by ICEYE satellites (Photo:ICEYE)

The Crimean bridge, captured by ICEYE satellites (Photo:ICEYE)

The "People's Satellite", which the SerhiyPrytula Foundation bought from the ICEYE company with crowdfundedmoney, has already helped to destroy more armored Russian vehicles than the cost of the satellite project itself, Ukraine’s Minister of Defense, Oleksiy Reznikov, revealed on Facebook on Sept. 29.

“One satellite is completely working for the needs of our defense, almost two dozen more are involved when there is a need,” Reznikov said, adding that the expectations from the acquisition of the satellite were fully justified.

“In fact, in just these two days, the enemy lost more armored vehicles than the cost of the satellite project. But the main thing is that it helps to save the lives of our priceless warriors.”

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Reznikov explained that the combat brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are already receiving data from the ICEYE satellite. The images are directly deciphered and processed by Ukrainian military intelligence specialists.

“For obvious reasons, I can’t reveal all the details, but just imagine: in the first two days of the satellite’s operation, more than 60 units of military vehicles were discovered, which the enemy tried to disguise in forest belts and other obstacles,” the Defense Minister said.

“It was discovered because ICEYE satellites collect information using Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology – the indicated vehicles would be very difficult, or impossible to notice, with optical satellites.”

The Minister said that the coordinates of the "hidden" vehicles were promptly sent to the appropriate units in order to conduct immediate strikes. Reznikov said that this was the case near the settlements of Khreshchenivka and Ukrainka in Kherson Oblast, as well as near Novoselivka in Donetsk Oblast.

The Minister of Defense also named four additional benefits that the satellite provides:

  • Ukraine is now able to combine data from optical satellites from partners and SAR. This fundamentally increases the ability of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to detect and defeat the Russian invaders;
  • Satellites with SAR become especially relevant in autumn and winter when the weather is bad, cloudy or snowy. For satellites, there is no difference whether it’s day or night. Therefore, the enemy will not be able to hide;
  • The Ukrainian military itself determines where and when to receive the necessary data. At present, systematic monitoring of the main areas of combat operations in the south and east is being carried out;
  • Information flows from analysts to combat units very quickly. It will be more difficult for the Russian invaders to hide their intentions, which will further complicate their logistics.

“This is a real contribution to strengthening the defense of Ukraine, due to a technological advantage,” Reznikov noted.

“After all, Russian troops don’t have the same opportunities. I have repeatedly noted that we will be able to defeat Russia only because to the quality of our defense. That is why I consider this project a kind of start-up that will open the door for other ambitious initiatives and solutions.”

The Serhiy Prytula Charitable Foundation bought the satellite with money raised as part of the “People’s Bayraktar” project. After Ukrainians raised UAH 600 million (around $16,000,000) for the drones in three days, drone manufacturer Baykar announced that it would send three Bayraktars to the Ukrainian front for free.

As a result, the foundation redirected these funds in order to purchase full access to a satellite orbiting above this region, belonging to the ICEYE company. Ukraine also gained access to imagery from an entire constellation of SAR satellites.

Sergiy Prytula, the foundation’s founder, specified that the Ukrainian side will continue to access the satellite as long as it remains in orbit. A SAR satellite can view activity on the ground and transmit around the clock, regardless of weather conditions or time of day.

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