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BAE Systems Announces Multi-Sensor Azalea Satellite Cluster

By | September 7, 2022

BAE Systems Azalea satellite cluster. Photo: BAE Systems

BAE Systems announced plans to launch its own multi-sensor satellite cluster called Azalea for U.K. military intelligence. 

Azalea is planned as a cluster of three multi-sensor satellites from BAE Systems and one satellite with Iceye synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology. Together, the satellites will collect optical, radar, and radio frequency (RF) data. The satellites will also be equipped with edge processors to analyze data while in orbit. BAE Systems announced the cluster on Sept. 7, with intent to launch in 2024. 

This comes after BAE Systems, a British defense contractor, acquired U.K. company space as a service company In-Space Missions last year. In-Space Missions has manufacturing capabilities and in 2021 launched the Faraday Phoenix rideshare spacecraft combining six customer satellites. 

BAE Systems said the Azalea constellation will help the U.K. understand the threats and hazards in space, and understand threats on Earth by using space. The program also supports the U.K. government’s Defence Space Strategy, published earlier this year. The strategy names Earth observation as a key capability to protect and defend national interests. 

Dave Armstrong, group managing director of BAE Systems’ Digital Intelligence business said the cluster will be a “major step forward for U.K. sovereign space capability.” 

“The Azalea satellite cluster will process data in space to provide swaths of digital intelligence wherever it’s needed. We understand how important space-based intelligence is to every domain, whether that’s informing strategic command, alerting an in area warship, or providing real-time intelligence to forces on the ground,” Armstrong added.