April 23, 2024

The ESAIL microsatellite has received over 2 million messages from 70,000 ships within a day.

ESA Partnership Project developed a reliable, high-performance satellite to aid Canadian and European space companies in the global telecommunications marketplace.

It allows industry, maritime authorities, and governments to monitor and manage fisheries, manage their fleets, enhance security, and protect the environment, making the seas safer.

ESAIL monitors ships worldwide by detecting radio broadcasts of boats with their automatic identification system. This allows them to be identified far away from coastal-based monitoring stations.

LuxSpace, a Luxembourgish manufacturer, first validated the platform. This involved several small- and medium-sized European companies confirming ESAIL’s exceptional operational maritime service performance.

The second, more complicated step involved validating automatic identification systems by exactEarth, ESAIL’s Canadian operator. ESAIL received over 2 million messages from 70,000 ships within a single day. This is a 15% to 20% higher detection rate than other satellites.

The satellite’s performance was optimized through adaptive onboard processing and on-ground processing to maximize the number and quality of messages from ships in high-traffic areas like the North Sea or the South China Sea.

Its operator, exactEarth, is currently integrating ESAIL into its fleet of satellites. These satellites provide maritime services to customers, including search and rescue, customs, fisheries, and search rescue, environmental protection agencies, and the European Maritime Safety Agency.

Peter Mabson is the Chief Executive Officer of exactEarth. He stated: “ESAIL, with its sophisticated spectrum sampling payload, multipolar antenna capabilities, and vessel detection performance, delivers exceptional vessel detection performance. We are delighted to put this advanced microsatellite in operational service.

“We are grateful to ESA, LuxSpace, and the European Satellite Manufacturing Team for contributing to this remarkable achievement.”

Oliver Salisch, LuxSpace’s Managing Director, stated: “LuxSpace is very proud of the performance of the Triton-2 platform. It has exceeded customer expectations and allowed for the optimization of orbit performance. This demonstrates the ability of LuxSpace, to deliver reliable and effective technical solutions to customers around the globe.

“These results were possible because of the fruitful collaboration between ESA and exactEarth when resolving the daily challenges.”

The Luxembourg Space Agency and other ESA member countries supported the ESAIL project.

Marc Serres is the Chief Executive of the Luxembourg Space Agency. He said this maritime microsatellite was built by LuxSpace, Luxembourg’s most extensive system integrator, in partnership with ESA. It shows how private companies and ESA can collaborate to create a new product.

“It’s another tangible sign of the success of Luxembourg’s space strategy, which focuses on creating an attractive environment for NewSpace companies as well as innovative space entrepreneurs.”

ESA’s Partnership Projects are designed to create sustainable end–to–end systems that can be validated in orbit.

Elodie Viau is the Director of Telecommunication and Integrated Applications for ESA. She said that ESAIL was a great example of how ESA can generate tangible and significant downstream value from innovations on the space platform.

“We view the development of space assets from the perspective of their Earth-bound applications, their societal and financial benefits, and the impeccable business logic of commercial partners.

“Space connects us all on Earth. ESAIL demonstrates how ESA and European Space Agency can create unique public-private partnerships. They combine their institutional strengths, research, and engineering knowledge with industrial excellence, ambitious market objectives, and a clear focus on market priorities.

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