The summer was rich and intense for Prometheus, which is shaking up the panorama of the French and European space observation sector. This is also the full meaning of the memorandum of understanding that the startup, chaired at full speed by Olivier Piepsz, signed on Thursday with Naval Group. The two companies will carry out a joint study aimed at integrating data of satellite origin in the naval tactical situation of warships in order to anticipate all the threats incurred by French Navy ships and those sold for export by Naval Group. “It is essential for an aircraft carrier or a frigate to see beyond its horizon line, to have much more precise information and finally to have permanent observations for the benefit of ship surveillance”explains to the Tribune Olivier Piepsz.
“The objective of this study is to validate the viability as well as the added value of integrating satellite data in real time in the information systems of Naval Group’s military platforms, and then possibly study the market for this type of service”, specifies the president of Prometheus.
Space, new added value for the naval sector
Space is increasingly essential to the naval world, be it military or civilian. This is where the startup’s skills come in: its Japetus constellation, equipped with 20 satellites with metric (or even lower) resolution, to be deployed from 2025, will provide global geographic coverage with a high daily revisit rate (every 45 minutes). at certain latitudes). This constellation could be an asset for monitoring the French exclusive economic zone (EEZ), one of the largest in the world (11 million km2).
These satellite images will not replace but will complement the data from traditional sensors on board buildings (radar, drones and deployed aircraft). Beyond surveillance, the French Navy should also be able to use it for the pursuit of suspicious ships. Satellite images could even help detect submarines. These services will naturally find commercial outlets in the military naval sector but also in the civil field in relation to maritime security (pollution, illegal fishing and immigration, traffic of all kinds, coastal and port surveillance, etc.).
In this context, Prometheus will provide satellite data to Naval Group, which will offer it to its clients. But Prometheus points to much more. What the startup already offers to the naval world, it wants to adapt this space data service to the land and air world.
Japetus on the launch pad
Summer also brought some very good news for Prometheus. If the startup has successfully launched its constellation of Earth observation nanosatellites Japetus, equipped with high-resolution multispectral cameras (Simera) developed by Safran Reosc, it owes it in particular to the French recovery plan. Thus, the CNES has decided to allocate 3.5 million euros to the Japetus demonstrator within the France Relance plan that it co-manages with the General Directorate for Enterprise (DGE). “With the 20 satellites of the future Japetus constellation, the areas to be monitored will be observed every 2 hours on average and up to every 45 minutes, an improvement of a factor of 10 compared to space systems. traditional”says Prometheus.
The first Prometheus satellite, “ProtoMéthée-1”, is currently being manufactured by the Lithuanian manufacturer NanoAvionics for launch into LEO orbit in October 2023. This demonstrator will be based on a constellation with a high revisit rate (20 times more passes per day) . The 20 satellites of the future constellation Japetus of Prometheus will offer “an unprecedented permanence in space and time in Europe”emphasizes Prometheus. Embedded AI technologies and intra-constellation connectivity (particularly with the kineis constellation) will produce information cycles in near real time.
All these successes oblige Olivier Piepsz to speed up the rise of Prometheus, which after having raised nearly 7 million euros and obtained a grant of 3.5 million, needs a new collection of 11 million euros at the end of the year. Fundraising that should be facilitated by the commercial and technological dynamism of Prometheus…