Ukraine’s crowd-funded satellite ICEYE will give Ukraine the ability to receive images of the country day and night, and in any weather, the Ukrainian volunteer who organized the fund-raising and purchase of the spacecraft said.
Prytula said that because Ukraine now owns the satellite, it will receive exclusive images 24 hours a day in any weather, which will allow Ukrainian defenders to better plan military operations.
He said that under the agreement, Ukraine gets both the satellite and access to the database of a constellation of the same type of satellite. After the paid period of access to the database expires, the Ukrainian side will continue to own the satellite as long as it is in orbit.
The satellite should now be re-registered to Ukraine. Prytula said that the satellite is insured and, if something happens to it, the company will provide our country with a replacement.
"The owner of the satellite is Ukraine, and it is the Ukrainian side that determines what and when it takes images, as well as in what format and spectrum we receive data.”
“That is, we fully own, manage and use the images of this satellite.”
The satellite flies over the territory of Ukraine twice a day, and only the owner — the state of Ukraine — receives the images. When the satellite is not over its territory, Ukraine can receive data thanks to the access to the constellation of SAR (synthetic aperture radar) satellites of the ICEYE company, so access to data is continuous, Prytula added. One picture can cover an area of up to 225 square kilometers.
"Unlike an optical satellite, which can only work during the day and in clear skys, a SAR satellite acts like a lantern — it illuminates the earth's surface with its own radio waves,” the volunteer said.
“Therefore, obstacles, night, clouds, rain, fog, and smoke are irrelevant for imaging. The SAR satellite ‘penetrates’ everything with its radar.”
Prytula also said that, although foreign partners provide Ukraine with satellite imagery, they arrive with a delay. As Ukraine now has its own satellite, it will take only a few hours from the moment of shooting to the moment the image is received by military units.
Prytula's charity fund bought the satellite with money collected as part of the People's Bayraktar project. After Ukrainians raised UAH 600 million ($16.3 million) for attack drones in the space of three days, the Turkish manufacturer Baykar Makina announced that it would send three Bayraktar drones to the Ukrainian front free of charge.
The ICEYE company will provide the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine with full access to all the capabilities of one of its satellites that is in orbit in this region. Ukraine will also get access to the constellation of SAR satellites.