Russian private space company Dauria Aerospace has successfully launched two Perseus-M maritime surveillance satellites into low earth orbit, marking the initial stage of the Perseus constellation deployment.
The Perseus constellation is Dauria’s first space monitoring and remote sensing satellite constellation, which is composed of the Perseus-M satellites, DX1 spacecraft and eight Perseus-O imaging satellites.
Dauria Aerospace founder and president Mike Kokorich said: "The launch of the Perseus-M satellites marks a significant achievement for Dauria."
"Once established, the maritime segment of the constellation will provide valuable vessel traffic information to a range of users from captains and ship-owners to coast guard and search and rescue services in the Northern Hemisphere."
The company’s affiliate Canopus Systems has developed the maritime surveillance satellites that feature a proprietary microsatellite platform and commercially orientated experimental automatic identification system (AIS) payloads.
The constellation is claimed to be the first to include a Russian private component.
Dauria has reached an agreement with the Russian Ministry of Transportation for the development of AIS services before the DX1 launch, said Kokorich.
"At this time, Russia does not maintain any space assets with AIS capabilities and can only monitor maritime traffic less than about 43 miles from its shoreline," Kokorich said.
"We expect this partnership to lead to agreements with multiple companies based in North America and Europe."
The DX1 small satellite will be launched aboard a Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket from Baikonur in early July, while Perseus-O medium resolution optical satellites are scheduled for launch in 2015.
Image: DX1 is the first Russian spacecraft to be completely financed, designed and assembled by a private company. Photo: courtesy of Dauria Aerospace.