Small Satellites for AIS Services

Satellite Constellations for Vessels Safety

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is mandated by the International Maritime Organization for all vessels displacing over 300 tons. AIS transponders automatically broadcast information at regular intervals.

These signals are received by AIS transponders installed on other ships or by land-based systems. The signals have a horizontal range of about 40 nautical miles (74 km), meaning that AIS traffic information is only available around coastal zones or in a ship-to-ship zone.

Satellite-Based Automatic Identification Systems (SAT-AIS) improve vessel tracking and location. Due to the nature of their activity, it is common for transatlantic vessels, ships or fishing vessels, to mention just a few examples, to spend long periods of time at sea, in isolated areas where it is not possible to rely on land-based networks to guarantee precise control over their location at all times.

The use of small satellite constellations can improve the safety of all types of vessels and can be an effective measure to prevent certain common problems related to maritime traffic, such as piracy and illegal fishing.

Ship tracking (AIS)

Our SAT-AIS Space Solution

Alén Space provides an end-to-end solution to orbit our clients’ AIS services. We can help companies interested in providing maritime security services, law-enforcement, Search and Rescue (SAR), maritime surveillance, environmental solutions and fleet management services for commercial users (shipping companies and ship owners).

Alén Space’s ready to launch solution has already been developed, tested, and prepared for use for AIS, which consists of:

  • TOTEM AIS. A high performance SDR (Software Defined Radio) for small satellites, designed and manufactured by Alén Space with flight heritage. You can also add a second application for your TOTEM hardware: ADS-B, Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) or IoT.

  • VHF interface, the front-end integrated in TOTEM AIS.

  • Dedicated software for AIS, developed by Alén Space for use in space projects, to receive and transmit AIS data.

  • Mission management. Focus on your AIS service. Alén Space can handle all the phases involved in getting your project into space. Our turnkey solution for AIS includes mission design and system engineering, payload integration, AIV (Assembly, Integration and Verification), insurance and launch management, frequency coordination and registration, ground station network management and operation and execution.

SAT-AIS is a solution that overcomes terrestrial coverage limitations with the potential to provide AIS services for any given area on Earth.

Alén Space Team

Why Alén Space?

  • A team forged with the United Nations, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB)

  • 12 years of small satellite projects

  • CubeSats missions: 100% success

  • Experienced with space institutions and R&D partners

VDES Solution

Alén Space is developing a VDES solution (VHF Data Exchange System) with small satellites, taking advantage of the new VDE-SAT functionality, which will allow bidirectional communications and a unified standard in maritime communications.

VDES is a radio communication system that will improve connectivity and maritime safety throughout the planet.

The VDES satellite service (VDE-SAT) is prepared to transform the sector and to meet the needs of the maritime industry. VDES will allow real-time control of all data flows between vessels, with authorities, and service providers around the world.

Small Satellites for Detecting Dark Vessels

Vessels that are not broadcasting their identification, position and course with AIS transponders can be detected with SIGINT capabilities rely on CubeSats. Those dark vessels are still communicating with push-to-talk (PTT) radio systems or satellite phones, or they are navigating with S-band or X-band radio systems. Those signals can be identified from space.

Learn more about our Small Satellite Solution for Ship Tracking

  • Blog post. How to Use Small Satellites for Asset Tracking
    >> Learn more

Get in Touch

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