AAC Clyde Space, Saab and Orbcomm are to develop a new generation of satellites for maritime communications in a 17MSEK (€1.7m) deal
A €1.7m deal from the Swedish Transport Administration will see AAC Clyde Space in Sweden build, launch and commission the first satellite in the project. This is intended to be the first satellite of a future constellation to provide a VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) service.
With up to 32 times more bandwidth than the currently widely used Automatic Identification System (AIS) communication, VDES can be integrated with e-navigation systems, enabling savings in fuel and emissions of up to 25 percent, aiding navigation, and increasing safety.
The EPIC 3U satellite is planned to launch in mid-2022 and will be the first satellite assembled at AAC Clyde Space's new integration facility in Uppsala. The satellite will carry a VDES payload from Saab for two-way communication between satellite and ground. Orbcomm will integrate the data in its distribution centre for maritime communications.
"This is a significant milestone for our company, with an important new satellite contract and a collaboration with two impressive players in the field. This also marks the first satellite to be built at our new satellite assembly facility in Sweden. We are very excited to be part of a team delivering a new capability to seafarers worldwide, improving safety and efficiency for maritime users. I would like to thank Saab for having selected AAC Clyde Space to be their partner in space, and I look forward to further strengthening our very successful relation with Orbcomm,” said Luis Gomes of AAC Clyde Space.
The first demonstration system is expected to be followed by a larger constellation as part of a new maritime communication infrastructure. The addition of a space-based capability will increase VDES range from the shoreline to anywhere in the ocean, converting what is currently a predominantly coastal system into a global maritime system.