British SDaaS Satellite to Launch on 2nd January26th Dec 2022
SpaceX is scheduled to launch the Kelpie satellite built by AAC Clyde Space on 2nd January 2023. Kelpie is a high performance Space Data as a Service, or SDaaS, satellite.
Kelpie is the first of a new generation of SDaaS for AAC Clyde Space. It joins a constellation of four such satellites built by its American subsidiary AAC SpaceQuest. Two more Kelpie satellites are scheduled to join the constellation toward the end of 2023.
The satellite is scheduled for launch on the SpaceX Transporter 6 rocket on 2nd January. The satellites will go into Sun Synchronous Orbit.
Small but significant Kelpie
Kelpie hefts new British-built technology. In a press release issued as the satellite was being sent to Cape Canaveral for the launch, AAC Clyde Space notes that Oxford Space Systems created Kelpie’s antenna and low-noise core avionics.
The 4kg satellite is optimized to handle AIS transmissions from vessels at sea. ORBCOMM, which contracted the satellite from AAC Clyde Space, claims that it handles processes over 30 million AIS messages daily from more than 200,000 vessels on behalf of public and private sector clients.
The rise of SDaaS
Space Data as a Service is somewhat of a newcomer to the space industry. However, the segment should grow quickly as falling development and construction costs enable services providers to take an Earth Observation or telecommunications satellite to launch and sell the resulting capacity rather than find a single client to foot the bill from the beginning.
SDaaS provision is a part of the broader Space as a Service (SaaS). The latter also encompasses space oriented needs such as Ground Station activities including control and communications. Tracking can fall under SaaS as well. Processes that are similar to their terrestrial counterparts can also be included, such as data processing and storage.