HELSINKI, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- A satellite weighing 70 kg was launched on an Indian rocket on Friday, and the Finnish developer said it is the first microsatellite equipped with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that is able to take pictures day and night through cloud layers.
The light weight of the ICEYE-X1 satellite benefits the cost of launches. For example, the Sentinel radar satellite of the European Space Agency weighs over two tonnes, the Finnish company ICEYE compared.
Data from the satellite will be used for commercial monitoring purposes such as keeping track on ice changing conditions. It can also track oil spills.
Rafal Modrewski, CEO of ICEYE said in a press release that the company is committed to enabling better decision making for everyone.
The company is not the first to offer visual data from a microsatellite, but claims to be the fastest. Pictures from anywhere in the world could be obtained in three hours. The next satellite in the ICEYE series will take off from the United States in summer. By 2020, there will be 20 Finnish ICEYE satellites in operation.
Two previous satellites produced in Finland were nanosatellites and primarily scientific, and began operations earlier this year.
Also on Friday, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto signed into law the Finnish Space Act. It creates a legal framework for the Finnish space industries. Space operations based in Finland will require a licence.