Kiev rented a Finnish satellite that can see through walls

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Kiev rented a Finnish satellite that can see through walls
Kiev rented a Finnish satellite that can see through walls
19 August, 16:17ArmyPhoto: Соцсети
The Finnish company ICEYE confirmed the message of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the acquisition of access to its satellite data, as well as to the archive of photographs of the country's territory over the past year.

Alexander Sychev

According to reports, the deal was financed by a well-known TV presenter in Ukraine, comedian, co-producer of a number of programs and an ardent nationalist Serhiy Prytula. The Finnish company does not disclose the amount of the transaction, while the Prytula Foundation claims that it paid 600 million hryvnias (a little over $16 million) for connecting to the Finnish satellite (we are talking about one). Funds were collected during the action "People's Bayraktar". The change in the purpose of spending was explained by the fact that Turkey decided to donate its drones to Ukraine, one or more, not reported.

The Finnish company ICEYE is a young start-up engaged in the production of microsatellites and their operation for commercial purposes. It was founded in 2014 by Pekka Laurila and Rafal Modzewski as a subsidiary of the Faculty of Radiotechnology at Aalto University in Finland.

In 2015, the company made the claim that space-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) could be used to monitor dangerous ice objects such as pack ice. In 2017, it attracted $13 million in investment, and in January of the following year, an Indian PSLV-XL rocket delivered the company's first 85-kilogram satellite into orbit. A year later, the company began selling images of the Earth's surface taken by its devices. In 2020, ICEYE sold two of its satellites to Brazil for use by the country's air force. By this year, the Finnish company owns 21 satellites located in orbits with different inclinations at an altitude of 570 kilometers.

A feature of Finnish satellites is side-looking radars that probe the Earth's surface. The images obtained during each passage of the point of interest are analyzed taking into account the change in the position of the satellites. Doppler frequency shifts are taken into account during processing. In this way, high quality images with a resolution of less than one meter are achieved. Another advantage of synthetic aperture technology is that it allows you to get high-quality images at any time and in any weather conditions.

"Thanks to automatic object recognition using distributed radar imaging and digital signal processing, these satellites are able to see ... through obstacles. Even the walls of buildings are not a hindrance to them." - say Ukrainian sources, hinting that the satellite will become a powerful tool for military intelligence. However...

But whether this waste was so necessary for the armed forces of Ukraine is an open question. The Ukrainian armed forces did not seem to lack intelligence. Reports have been leaked to the public more than once that the United States and NATO countries from the very beginning of the Special Military Operation provided Kyiv with data that came from satellites and reconnaissance aircraft that almost constantly fly along the eastern borders of the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance. What new can add just one satellite is not very clear.

In addition, the speed of data provision raises some doubts about their value. The company sends processed images to its commercial clients within five days. But even if the enthusiastic Ukrainian journalists are right, and information from the satellite will arrive every few hours, then this is not of decisive importance for the rapidly changing combat situation. Archival photographs may be of interest only to historians.

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