Satellite AIS vessel tracking satellite successfully launched

The new ESAIL microsatellite for global ship tracking, developed under the European Space Agency’s ARTES Partnership Project by satellite AIS data company exactEarth and LuxSpace, has been successfully launched onboard an Arianespace vehicle from Kourou, French Guiana. 

The satellite will undergo commissioning testing over the next few months before being brought into service to provide vessel detection and tracking capabilities as part of exactEarth’s global constellation of more than 70 automatic identification system (AIS) satellites, providing real time monitoring of the global shipping fleet.

The ESAIL satellite is designed for a mission life of approximately four years and was built by LuxSpace with the support of the Luxembourg Space Agency under an ESA Partnership Project with exactEarth and the support of the Canadian Space Agency. It will be used to track ships worldwide by detecting messages that ships radio-broadcast via AIS.

“We are very excited to add this advanced technology satellite to the exactEarth constellation,” said Peter Mabson, exactEarth CEO.

“ESAIL incorporates advanced antenna and receiver designs which, together with exactEarth’s advanced decollision processing technology, is expected to set a new standard for satellite-AIS vessel detection. I would like to thank ESA, the CSA and the LuxSpace-led European satellite manufacturing team for helping to achieve this important milestone.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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