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Unseenlabs entrusts the launch of its satellite to the European Arianespace after the American Rocket Lab

French New Space nugget specializing in maritime surveillance, Unseenlabs, after two launches entrusted to the American Rocket Lab, will launch its BRO-4 satellite on August 16 with Arianespace's Vega launcher on August 16, announced Challenges on August 9 . The next day, Arianespace confirmed this information with a press release.

Arianespace’s upcoming Vega launch, scheduled for August 16, 2021, will orbit Pléiades Neo 4, the second very high-resolution satellite part of the new Airbus Defence and Space’s Earth Observation constellation. Vega Flight 19 (VV19) will also deploy four scientific spacecraft: three to the benefit of the European Space Agency (ESA) and one for the start-up Unseenlabs, states he number one commercial space transport in the world in its press release.

Unseenlabs' BRO-4 is a CubeSat (nanosatellite) and is part of the BRO (Breizh Reconnaissance Orbiter) constellation, a spectrum monitoring and electromagnetic intelligence service for maritime surveillance.

This technology allows the customers of the French group (national navies, coast guards, ministries in charge of fisheries, etc.) to locate vessels that cut their AIS (Automatic Identification System) beacons, and thus to fight against illegal fishing, piracy or drug trafficking, says Challenges. Unseenlabs intends to launch six additional satellites in 2021, six more in 2022, and reach 20 to 25 satellites by 2025. If the first two launches will have been carried out by Rocket Lab, Unseenlabs is in discussions with Arianespace to carry out some of its next shots.

The Rennes start-up Unseenlabs was founded in 2015 by Jonathan Galic, formerly of the military satellites branch of Airbus Defense & Space, and his brother Clément, who worked for Atos and Capgemini.

The era of "New Space"

With the development of “New Space”, we are witnessing a proliferation of players in the space sector. "New Space" refers to a space industry that started out in the United States but has spread around the world since. Its development has been favored by a legal framework adapted to commercial space activities which considerably increases the accessibility and attractiveness of space, according to journalist Rémy Delcourt in Futura Sciences. The expression “New Space” does not designate a renewal but an opening up of space to new players and an extension of the field of application of space technologies.

It is reflected in the facts by the privatization of access to space and the arrival in the space economy of players from Silicon Valley and GAFA and now by the irruption in the sector of smaller structures of start-up type. These new entrants allow traditional space to benefit from innovations and technologies from other sections such as digital, Big Data or aeronautics.

Formerly confined to tasks of Earth observation, study of the universe, exploration, demonstration of technology and human activity in low orbit, space activity must now correspond to objectives commercial. Unlike “Old Space”, “New Space” thinks first and foremost about the needs of the customer and data users. The “New Space” economy makes spatial data a product with high added value, which must be immediately available and used for a very wide variety of applications and commercial services.

[Discover the companies redefining the frontiers of the space sector on September 14 at the Space Forum. Organized as part of the renowned tech summit ICT Spring Europe on September 14 and 15, Space Forum will welcome leading players in the space sector from around the world (China, United States, South Africa...) to a day of intense and constructive discussions on the future of the sector.

More info on Space Forum HERE

More info on ICT Spring Europe HERE