BAE Systems has scheduled the launch of its first multi-sensor satellite cluster into low Earth orbit for 2024 to deliver digital intelligence to military customers in real-time.
The space-based communication project, named Azalea, will utilize a range of sensors to collect radar, visual, and radio frequency data and be analyzed through a machine learning program for secure distribution of intelligence to any part of the globe.
Azalea’s cluster includes four satellites that can be fully reconfigured while in orbit to maintain military operability, intelligence gathering, and disaster response.
Its persistent monitoring will enable easier detection of physical changes on the surface, such as movements from hostile ships or aircraft, floods and forest fires, and even the location of people at risk during natural disasters.
Following the acquisition of In-Space Missions in 2021, Azalea’s launch will allow BAE Systems to support the UK’s Defence Space Strategy.
The project is being developed in partnership with Finland-based satellite developer ICEYE, which provides sensor and advanced synthetic aperture radar technology for high-resolution imaging of the Earth’s surface at any time in any weather.
“The Azalea satellite cluster will process data in space to provide swathes of digital intelligence wherever it’s needed,” BAE Systems Digital Intelligence Group Managing Director Dave Armstrong said.
“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. The launch of Azalea in 2024 will be a major step forward for the UK’s sovereign space capability.”