Ymir-1, a satellite equipped with technology from Saab, was launched into space on November 11 onboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9. Saab stated that this marks a new era within maritime communication.
Ymir-1 is a test satellite and part of the development of the next generation of the Automatic Identification System (AIS), a system used by ships to communicate position, speed, course, and other data. AIS is a requirement for all larger ships and boats in civilian traffic. Saab TransponderTech is a leading manufacturer of AIS transponders and has built the advanced transponder onboard the satellite.
“Saab’s focus is innovation and to be at the forefront of technology. By using the space domain, we can strengthen and improve already existing products in our portfolio. The satellite launch is an important step in our investment in space and demonstrates our ability to utilize available Saab technology to, together with our partners, create new, unique space applications,” says Christian Hedelin, Chief Strategy Officer at Saab.
Due to the increasing number of ships at sea, AIS will be upgraded to a new technology known as VDES (VHF Data Exchange System). With VDES, capacity will significantly increase, and there will be the possibility of secure two-way communication via satellites, providing global coverage compared to today’s systems which are limited to coastal communication.
In the long run, the new navigation and communication system, VDES, will link land, sea, air, and space by combining advanced transponders with modern software and satellites.
The Swedish-built satellite Ymir-1 is a tool for research and development, developed in collaboration between Saab, AAC Clyde Space, and ORBCOMM within the AOS consortium. The project will continue throughout 2024.