Twin satellites launched to monitor ship traffic in the North
Two dutch-Norwegian satellites will be launched this afternoon in Florida, USA. The satellites will, among other things, monitor ship traffic.
The twin satellites Birkeland and Huygens have been built and developed by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) in collaboration with Dutch researchers. The launch is set to happen at 15:56 Norwegian time, according to a press release from FFI.
“The two research satellites will go into a polar orbit, a so-called ‘Low Earth Orbit (LEO)’ with an altitude of 535 km. From there they will be able to detect, classify and geolocate radars of interest very precisely. This includes navigation radars used on ships, as long as these are in use,” the FFI informs.
The satellites can cover any point on the surface of the earth at least four times daily. Furthest north a full 15 daily observations can be done.
Solar panels will provide the ten-kilogram nanosatellites with the necessary energy.
Norwegian and Dutch researchers have collaborated on the project since 2017. The launch was planned for last year, but has not happened until now.