Iceye raises $136 million in private investment capital

Capitalism in space: Iceye, which launches commercial Earth observation satellites, has successfully raised another $136 million in private investment capital, bringing its total cash raised to $304 million.

With the latest cash infusion announced Feb. 3, Iceye is expanding manufacturing capacity and upping its launch tempo. Iceye plans to loft 11 satellites in 2022, after launching seven in 2021. Iceye also will devote additional resources toward natural catastrophe monitoring. In 2021, Iceye began working with insurance industry partners including Zurich-based Swiss Re and Tokyo-based Tokio Marine.

With the climate changing and natural catastrophes becoming more frequent, Iceye executives see increasing demand for updated information. SAR satellites are particularly useful for observing floods and other disasters because unlike optical sensors, they gather data at night and through clouds.

Essentially, commercial satellites like Iceye’s are replacing the government satellites that NASA and NOAA have been launching, but with far less frequency and far more cost in the last two decades. In fact, the inability of these agencies to get many new Earth observation satellites launched on time and cheaply has fueled this new private industry.

Like NASA’s manned program, the government will soon depend entirely on privately-built satellites for its climate and Earth resource research. And it will get more for its money and get it faster.