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NanoAvionics to Build Three Maritime Surveillance Satellites for Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace

By | May 18, 2022

Assembly of NanoAvionics MP42 microsatellite bus. Photo: NanoAvionics

Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace has ordered three microsatellites from NanoAvionics for a space-based maritime surveillance mission. The companies announced the deal May 18, financial terms were not disclosed.  

The mission brings together a group of European companies. NanoAvionics, based in Lithuania, will build the satellites based on its MP42 microsatellite bus. Kongsberg is developing the surveillance payload, which includes Automatic Identification System (AIS) reporting and a navigation radar detector developed by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). Norwegian company Eidsvoll Electronics AS will provide encryption software, and the satellites will be operated by KSAT (Kongsberg Satellite Services). 

The satellites will be used to provide an overview of ship traffic in the North Sea to detect vessels not reporting AIS data. They will form the basis for Norway’s first satellite constellation, with plans to add more satellites to expand coverage areas and revisit times and data types. 

“With this, we take a successful model from the defense industry into the space industry. Close collaboration between users, researchers and industry has created world-leading products,” said Eirik Lie, president of Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace. “We are now making a similar investment with the goal of creating a Norwegian satellite adventure that will lift the Norwegian space industry.”  

FFI and NanoAvionics previously worked together as part of a consortium on a Norwegian-Dutch military use of space mission for which NanoAvionics built two satellites.