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Second-generation AIS satellite launched

Satellite AIS company exactEarth has announced the successful launch of its new exactView 1 (EV-1) satellite, carrying its second generation AIS detection payload.

The EV-1 technology is expected to enhance vessel detection and tracking performance, especially in areas of denser shipping traffic.

The satellite and payload will be commissioned over the next three months, after which the satellite will be put into operational service.

EV-1 will utilise S-band and C-band communications to downlink information to ground stations in Svalbard, Norway, Guildford, UK, and several other locations around the world.

The polar-orbiting spacecraft was built under contract for exactEarth and is the fifth deployed satellite in the exactView vessel monitoring satellite constellation.

COM DEV Canada acted as prime contractor and COM DEV Europe (UK) supplied the AIS transceiver payload system for this mission. SSTL (UK) manufactured the satellite bus and brokered the launch arrangements.

The planned exactEarth satellite constellation will consist of six polar orbiting satellites designed to provide an hourly update of global vessel positions.

“[This] launch marks another important step in the ongoing expansion of our global vessel monitoring service,” said Peter Mabson, president of exactEarth.

“This launch helps ensure that exactEarth will continue to provide the world's most comprehensive and high performance satellite-based AIS service for years to come.”

In other news, exactEarth has also recently been awarded a contract by NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) for the provision of satellite AIS data to NATO HQ MC Northwood and JFC Naples, which provide maritime services to Alliance Member States.

The NATO Maritime Operation Centres (MOC Northwood and MOC Naples) and NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) will be acquiring exactAIS data to be used within Operation Ocean Shield, a counter-piracy operation in the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin, consisting of naval vessels from NATO nations as well as other elements ashore.

exactAIS data will also be used in support of Operation Active Endeavour, NATO’s maritime counter-terrorism operation in the Mediterranean.

The NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) at Northwood is NATO’s gateway to the merchant shipping community, acting as the primary point of contact for the exchange of information between NATO and the international shipping community.

NSC provides information on piracy incidents in High Risk Areas, where AIS data can be used to help identify merchant vessels in the vicinity of Pirate Attack Group (PAG) Activity in order to issue warnings and alerts.

NATO will use the satellite AIS data to create a picture of 'white' shipping and to aid in identifying suspicious behaviour, contributing to the overall Recognized Maritime Picture (RMP).

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