Horizon Technologies has shipped its first AMBER payload to AAC Clyde Space in Glasgow, the company announced on 10 November. There, it will undergo testing prior to integration into the AAC Clyde Space bus in preparation for launch.
“Horizon Technologies is not only on track to launch the first AMBER Maritime Intelligence CubeSat into orbit in mid-2021, but will be launching additional AMBER CubeSats next year […] Due to COVID-related delays affecting our launch windows, we have had time to implement major improvements in the expanded dataset we will be providing to our customers, and [will be] able to provide solutions to customers’ Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) challenges,” commented the company’s CEO, John Beckner.
AMBER is a public/private partnership with the British government, and uses innovative, proprietary technologies to collect and geolocate RF signals from Earth without the need for self-reporting technologies such as AIS (Automatic Identification System) in detecting and monitoring vessels and without the use of clusters of satellites; AMBER uses single CubeSats rather than clusters, resulting in lower total system costs. In addition to geolocation, the AMBER constellation will provide a very detailed and advanced (demodulated) data set on the signals collected.
Horizon’s customers, many of whom are current users of the company’s FlyingFish airborne SIGINT systems, want far more than geolocation for RF emitters: they want actionable intelligence data on targets of interest, in addition to geolocation – granular data such as extracted GPS locations, specific radar ID data and L-Band metadata/content, for example. AMBER provides this.