Horizon Technologies Readies For Amber-1 Launch

13th Oct 2022
Horizon Technologies Readies For Amber-1 Launch

With the launch of Virgin Orbit’s Launcher 1 approaching, UK firms are making preparations for the historic day. Some of those companies are making history themselves. One of those companies is Horizon Technologies.

First integration honours go to Horizon Technologies

On 10th October 2022, The Amber-1 satellite arrived at Spaceport Cornwall for integration with the Launcher 1 rocket. The event marks the first time a UK commercial satellite will be mated to a launch system for launch initiated on British soil.

Data centre opens

Horizon Technologies also commissioned a data centre in Lincoln with their partner LN Systems in September 2022. 

Called the Amber Data Centre (ADC), it will handle the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) data that will come in via the first Amber CubeSat. This is ahead of the first Amber launch from Cornwall this month through Virgin Orbit as part of the mission entitled Start Me Up. 

Speaking about it, John Beckner, the CEO of Horizon Technologies, said the following:

“Amber is a data service. The ADC is one of the key components of Amber and without it, there would be no Amber.  

“The team at LNS has worked tirelessly over the past few years constantly improving our capabilities to ingest data and provide it out to our government customers in the manner they have requested.  

“The work on the ADC ensures that once the first Amber™ satellite is operational, our customers will get the data they need, and in the right format.”

Leveraging Amber data

Governments will use amber data to get information for tracking and preventing illegal piracy, trafficking, smuggling, fishing, and such like. 

Amber will not rely on a ship’s AIS transponder, meaning it is a non-cooperative system. 

Monitoring a range of signals

Amber CubeSats are going to geolocate and monitor signals, for example, sat phones, ship’s radars, and other RF emissions. 

The conflict in Ukraine at the moment has shown just how valuable commercial space-based data sources are. 

Once active, Amber will be another highly effective tool in terms of combating illegal gas and oil transshipments and smuggling. 

The Horizon Technologies Amber-1 Launch

The Amber-1 Launch is part of the mission ‘Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC) IOD-3.’

There are a number of different firsts that will be happening as part of this mission. 

  1. Amber is going to be the first mission in the United Kingdom of its kind. It will deliver commercial and government end-users ‘always on’ RF signal geolocation and monitoring. 
  2. It is the first RF CubeSat constellation created purposely for the MDA.
  3. It is the first SIGINT CubeSat from the UK.
  4. It is part of the historic first space launch from the UK.
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