Kleos Commercial RF Monitoring CubeSat Constellation
In October 2020, Kleos S.A. of Luxembourg awarded ISISpace (Innovative Solutions In Space B.V. ) with HQs in Delft, The Netherlands, to provide turnkey satellite build and support for the Kleos Space – Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1) to launch in mid 2021 on the SpaceX Falcon 9. With 15 years of experience in providing turn-key small-satellite missions, ISISpace is well placed to provide a reliable build and launch support for Kleos’s KSF1 cluster of four satellites. 1)
Kleos S.A. is a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance DaaS (Data-as-a-Service) company. The objective of the Kleos' satellites is to detect and geolocate radio frequency transmissions to provide global activity-based intelligence, enhancing the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of governments and commercial entities when tracking systems are defeated, imagery unclear or targets out of patrol range.
Kleos Space CEO Andy Bowyer said: “We are excited to be progressing our second satellite cluster with ISISpace (– a leader in the small satellite market. Entering the assembly and verification phase of the satellites is a crucial developmental milestone and ensures we are on schedule to launch in mid-2021. The KSF1 satellite cluster will complement our Scouting Mission satellites, improving the value of our geolocation maritime intelligence data.”
Kleos confirms its second satellite cluster of four 6U CubeSats (8 kg each), the Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1), has successfully completed a hardware CDR (Critical Design Review) milestone, scheduled for a launch in mid-year 2021 onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle. 2)
Figure 1: Illustration of the 6U CubeSat platform (image credit: ISISpace)
ISISPACE’s CEO Jeroen Rotteveel states: “We are pleased to design and build this second satellite cluster for Kleos, to be completed on a fast-track schedule made possible by building on our extensive nanosatellite expertise and heritage. Despite the challenging timeline given the current global situation, we are keen to enter this next crucial phase of satellite assembly and validation and bringing our design to reality.”
Some Background: Kleos Space was founded in 2017 (with founding by the Luxembourg government) by experienced Space engineers to develop a new Space enabled Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) concept and disruptive in-Space technologies. Kleos is developing GEOINT (Geospatial Intelligence) DaaS that when deployed in conjunction with mapping or other imagery within data fusion platforms provides an innovative method of identifying activity of interest to the customer.
Kleos will launch & operate satellite infrastructure that will generate commercial ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) and geo-services data, and sell DaaS internationally via subscription to government agencies, the intelligence community, end users, or businesses interested in locating threats, assets, targets or emergency beacons/those in distress.
The KSM -1 (Kleos Scouting Mission-1) of Kleos of four 6U CubeSats, built by GomSpace, were launched as co-passenger payloads on 7 November 2020 on a PSLV-DL vehicle of ISRO from SDSC SHAR on the east coast of India (into an orbit of 37º inclination). The KSM-1 mission was the world’s first four satellite cluster flown in a formation for precision geolocation capability. Data from the KSM1 Scouting Mission is being delivered to customers and the satellites are being used to develop many space and ground segments for the Company.
Kleos is a space-enabled radio frequency reconnaissance data-as-a-service company with operations in Luxembourg, the US and UK. Kleos locates radio transmissions in key areas of interest around the globe, efficiently uncovering data points to expose human activity on land and sea. Using clusters of four satellites each, proprietary radio frequency data (RF Data) is collected, processed and delivered to customers worldwide. Customers, including analytics and intelligence entities, will license data on a subscription basis (Data-as-a-Service aka DaaS), for government and commercial use cases – aiding better and faster decision making. Kleos’ first satellite cluster, the Kleos Scouting Mission (KSM), successfully launched in November 2020 is performing as a test and technology demonstration whilst collecting data.
• June 4, 2021: Kleos Space S.A, a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a- service (DaaS) company confirms the successful dispatch of its cluster of four Polar Vigilance Mission satellites (KSF1) from Delft in the Netherlands to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. 3)
- Under a rideshare contract with Spaceflight Inc., the satellites will lift-off aboard the Spaceflight SXRS-5 / SpaceX Transporter-2 mission no earlier than June 2021. The satellites have been built by small satellite specialist Innovative Solutions In Space B.V (ISISPACE).
- The Polar Vigilance Mission will provide global data that will increase Kleos overall coverage density in the equatorial region and also cover areas North and South of the Kleos Scouting Mission satellites which successfully launched on in November into a 37º inclined orbit.
- Kleos uses clusters of four satellites to collect radio transmissions over key areas of interest around the globe and after processing a geospatial data product is delivered to analytics and intelligence entities for government and commercial use - efficiently uncovering data points of human activity on land and sea.
- The Kleos clusters enable up to six antenna pairs to be used in proprietary multilateration algorithms - aiding data accuracy.
- Kleos CEO Andy Bowyer said, "ISISPACE have done an incredible job delivering four satellites in a very short time period to our exacting standards, we look forward to them entering service in our growing constellation - more satellites, means more data for our customers increasing their insight into human activity in key areas of interest."
• May 25, 2021: Kleos Space S.A. has signed a contract with Innovative Solutions in Space B.V. (ISISPACE) to build and support its third satellite cluster of four satellites, the Polar Patrol Mission (KSF2), scheduled to launch at the end of 2021 onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9. 4)
- Specialising in small-satellite solutions, the Netherlands-based ISISPACE has more than 15 years of experience in the design, manufacture, and operation of nanosatellites and is currently also preparing Kleos’ second satellite cluster, the Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1) for dispatch to the launch site week commencing 31st May.
- Under the contract, ISISPACE will provide a turn-key solution including design, development, production, testing, launch integration services and early orbit phase support. The Polar Patrol Mission create an opportunity for higher value subscriptions, increasing revenues by adding more frequent cover over commercial areas of interest and additional data products to the Kleos inventory. The final mission costs incurred are anticipated to be compared to publicly available satellite costs and within the envelope of the cost of the Kleos Scouting Mission advised within the prospectus. The contract includes an optional addendum for a further three satellite clusters (12 further satellites in total) that will facilitate constellation growth with volume purchasing advantages. Funding methods for subsequent clusters will be determined by the directors and will be through a combination of revenue, equity or borrowings depending on capital market conditions prevailing at the time.
- Launching into a 500-600 km Sun-synchronous orbit, Kleos’ third satellite cluster doubles the company’s coverage over both poles, complementing the Scouting Mission and Polar Vigilance Mission satellites, thereby enhancing global coverage. Data derived from the Scouting Mission satellites is expected to commence to early adopter customers shortly. Kleos’ Polar Vigilance satellites are on track for a mid-2021 launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9, following the recent successful completion of key development milestones with ISISPACE.
- Kleos’ satellites collect data that is used to detect and geolocate radio frequency transmissions, enhancing the detection of illegal activity, including piracy, drug and people smuggling, border security challenges and illegal fishing. Its global activity-based data is sold as-a-service to governments and commercial entities, complementing existing commercial datasets to improve their intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
- Kleos Space CEO Andy Bowyer said, “ISISPACE has proven to be an ideal development partner for Kleos, with our second satellite cluster nearing completion ahead of a mid-year launch. Targeting a constellation of up to 20 satellite clusters, each new satellite cluster will increase sensing and intelligence gathering capabilities generating higher value data products for subscribers.”
- Jeroen Rotteveel, CEO of ISISPACE, said, “We are proud to continue our partnership with Kleos, utilising our extensive nanosatellite experience to build and design their third satellite cluster within a relatively short timeframe. As a strategic partner, we look forward to supporting them as they continue to build and launch their small satellite constellation.”
• March 2, 2021: Kleos Space S.A. (ASX: KSS, Frankfurt: KS1,) a space-powered Radio Frequency Reconnaissance data-as-a-service (DaaS) company, confirms its second satellite cluster, the Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1), has successfully completed a hardware critical design review milestone for a launch mid-year onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9. Conducted, in the Netherlands, by satellite developer ISISPACE, passing the milestone ensures that Kleos’ Polar Vigilance Mission satellites can enter the assembly and verification phase – an exciting stage leads to final integration, testing and delivery of the satellites for launch. 5)
a) Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1) satellites have passed a hardware critical design review milestone with satellite builder ISISPACE.
b) Satellites now enter Assembly Phase with ISISPACE for a mid-2021 launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicle.
c) Kleos’ Scouting Mission satellites (KSM1) in commission and test phase.
- The KSF1 Polar Vigilance Mission satellites are scheduled for a mid-2021 launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9, under a rideshare contract with Spaceflight Inc. The satellites will be launched into a 500-600 km Sun Synchronous Orbit, complementing Kleos’ Scouting Mission 37º orbit, which successfully launched in early November 2020 and are in the commission and test phase.
- Kleos’ satellites will detect and geolocate radio frequency transmissions to provide global activity-based intelligence, enhancing the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities of governments and commercial entities when tracking systems are defeated, imagery unclear or targets out of patrol range.
- Kleos Space CEO Andy Bowyer said: “We are excited to be progressing our second satellite cluster with ISISPACE – a leader in the small satellite market. Entering the assembly and verification phase of the satellites is a crucial developmental milestone and ensures we are on schedule to launch in mid-2021. The KSF1 satellite cluster will complement our Scouting Mission satellites, improving the value of our geolocation maritime intelligence data.”
- ISISPACE’s CEO Jeroen Rotteveel states: "We are pleased to design and build this second satellite cluster for Kleos, to be completed on a fast-track schedule made possible by building on our extensive nanosatellite expertise and heritage. Despite the challenging timeline given the current global situation, we are keen to enter this next crucial phase of satellite assembly and validation and bringing our design to reality.”
- As a strategic partner, ISISPACE further supports Kleos with its knowledge and experience to provide review and inputs for Kleos’ future needs and capabilities.
Launch 2: Kleos Space S.A. successfully launched its second satellite cluster of four 6U CubeSats, the KSF1 (Kleos Space Polar Vigilance Mission), on 30 June 2021 (19:31 UTC) aboard the Spaceflight SXRS-5/SpaceX Transporter-2 Mission from Cape Canaveral, FL. KSF1 was a passenger payload on Transporter-2 as were a total of 88 small passenger payloads on this flight. 6)
Orbit: The KSF1 satellites launched into a 525 km Sun Synchronous orbit with an inclination of 97.6º, increasing Kleos’ coverage to the north and south of the 37º inclination of the Kleos Scouting Mission 1 (KSM-1) satellites, which successfully launched in early November 2020.
Launch 1: The first cluster of four Kleos satellites KSM-1 (Kleos Scouting Mission-1) were launched on 7 November 2020 on the PSLV-C49 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota, India.
Orbit: The KSM-1 satellites were into an orbit of about 500 km with an inclination of 37º.
After the deployment the commissioning phase has now commenced. The operations team have successfully made contact with all 4 Satellites. It has been confirmed that they have detumbled, battery status is as expected and onboard watchdogs are operational.
• July 30, 2021: Kleos Space S.A. has established a partnership with Japanese based Japan Space Imaging Corporation (JSI) to support Kleos' geolocation data promotion in Japan. 7)
- Under the agreement, Kleos' RF geolocation data will enhance Japanese customers in their operations, such as defense of the homeland, and identification of illicit activities in territorial and international waters.
- Kleos' Group Chief Revenue Officer, Eric von Eckartsberg, said, "We are excited to be partnering with JSI, who brings more than two decades' experience serving the Japanese customers with space-based surveillance and data intelligence products. Japan's vast coastline stretches more than 18,480 miles, providing significant border protection challenges for Japanese authorities".
- Acting as Kleos' promotional partner, JSI will provide direct tactical and promotional support. Kleos has successfully launched its first two satellites clusters, targeting a constellation of up to 20 clusters.
- The Kleos Scouting Mission (KSM1) launched into a 37-degree inclination in November, providing coverage over key areas of maritime interest including the South China Sea and Strait of Hormuz.
- These demonstrator satellites have completed commissioning and are delivering test data to early adopter customers. Kleos launched its second cluster of four satellites, the Vigilance Mission (KSF1), at the end of June.
- Launched into a 525 km Sun Synchronous orbit from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the four Polar Vigilance satellites are in currently progressing through the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) and commissioning phase. Kleos' third satellite cluster, the Patrol Mission, is scheduled to launch at the end 2021 onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9.
• Deployed into a 525 km SSO from Cape Canaveral in Florida, the Polar Vigilance satellites further enhance Kleos’ global coverage and data collection capability and broaden the coverage range of Kleos’ first cluster of four Kleos Scouting Mission (KSM1) satellites. Satellite developer, Innovative Solutions In Space (ISISPACE), is performing the Launch and Early Operation Phase (LEOP) support, which includes commissioning of all spacecraft systems and maneuvering the four satellites into operational formation (Ref. 6).
- Kleos CTO Miles Ashcroft said: “Despite the schedule for the KSF1 satellites from placing the contract to launch being exceptionally ambitious, Kleos’ second cluster has been launched within the time window allocated and on budget. We must acknowledge ISISPACE and Spaceflight as well as our Kleos’ technical team’s work, I am proud of the whole team who have worked together empathetically, and it has made a massive difference with an incredible outcome that cannot be overstated. Kleos is well on track to see its third constellation in orbit by the end of this year. With each cluster launched, coverage and volume of data increases, commensurately increasing our revenue opportunities.”
- Kleos satellites collect data that is then processed to detect and geolocate radio frequency activity to improve the detection of hidden and illegal activities including piracy, drug and people smuggling, border security challenges and illegal fishing as they can detect transmissions, independent of other systems such as those used in active tracking, or when imagery is unclear, or targets are out of normal aircraft patrol range.
• July 1, 2021: Bright Ascension Ltd. of Dundee and Edinburgh, UK, an industry-leading space software technology provider, is reporting that its five latest GenerationOne flight software deployments were launched onboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Transporter-2 mission on 30 June, 2021. Bright Ascension provided the spacecraft software to Kleos Space’s Polar Vigilance Mission (KSF1) and the Faraday Phoenix satellite, built as part of In-Space Missions’ Faraday program to become a Service Mission Provider. 8)
- Kleos Space’s satellites detect and geolocate radio frequency transmissions to deliver a global picture of hidden maritime activity for enhanced intelligence capability.
Passenger Paylods of the SpaceX Transporter-2 mission
The launch service provider Spaceflight Inc. of Seattle announced on 11 May 2021 it will be launching 36 customer payloads to Sun Synchronous orbit aboard the SpaceX Transporter-2 mission, scheduled to launch no earlier than late June 2021. The company purchased three ports on the mission, dubbed ‘SXRS-5’ by Spaceflight, and is managing the launch integration and mission management services for 36 payloads, including six microsatellites, 29 cubesats and one hosted payload. The mission also represents the first time the company will fly two different orbital transportation vehicles (OTVs) and the launch of the industry’s first-ever electric propulsion vehicle, Sherpa-LTE1. 9)
A listing of the passenger payloads is provided in the Transporter-2 file on the eoPortal.
1) ”Kleos Space signs turnkey satellite build deal with ISISpace,” TechInvest, 23 October 2020, URL: https://techinvest.online/kleos-space-signs-turnkey-satellite-build-deal-with-isispace/
2) ”Kleos completes key satellite development milestone for mid-year SpaceX launch,” ISISPACE, 2 March 2021, URL: https://www.isispace.nl/news/
3) ”Kleos Polar Vigilance Mission Satellites dispatched to Cape Canaveral for Launch,” Space Daily, 4 June 2021, URL: https://www.spacedaily.com/reports/
4) Andra Gentea, ”Kleos engages ISISPACE to build third satellite cluster,” ISISPACE News, 25 May 2021, URL: https://www.isispace.nl/news/kleos-engages-isispace-to-build-third-satellite-cluster/
”Kleos completes key satellite development milestone for mid-year
SpaceX launch,” Kleos Media Release, 2 March 2021, URL: https://kleos.space/
6) ”Kleos launches second cluster, Polar Vigilance Mission satellites now in orbit,” Kleos News, 1 July 2021, URL:
”Kleos establishes partnership with Japan Space Imaging
Corporation for promotion in Japan,” Space Daily, 30 July 2021,
Sorensen, ”Spaceflight Inc. Readies 36 Customer Spacecraft and
Two OTVs for Launch on SpaceX’s Transporter-2 Mission,”
Spaceflight, 11 May 2021, URL: https://spaceflight.com/
The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: ”Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors” (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates (firstname.lastname@example.org).