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Politico: Ukraine’s ‘people’s satellite’ wreaks havoc on Russian targets

Ukraine’s crowd-funded spy satellite has enabled Ukraine to destroy thousands of Russian military targets, according to Ukrainian officials.
Ukrainian crowd-funded spy satellite
ICEYE’s satellites. Credit: Serhiy Prytula Charity Foundation
Politico: Ukraine’s ‘people’s satellite’ wreaks havoc on Russian targets

A crowd-funded satellite has become a game-changer for Ukraine’s military intelligence, enabling the destruction of thousands of Russian military targets, Politico reports.

The microsatellite, purchased from the Finnish company ICEYE, has allowed Ukrainian forces to monitor Russian troop movements, logistics, and equipment.

“The results are just over the moon,” Ukrainian Military Intelligence (HUR) stated in a report released on 26 June.

The satellite’s acquisition stems from a unique fundraising effort.

Serhiy Prytula, a former TV presenter whose Charity Foundation spearheaded the initiative, told Politico, “Thanks to the people’s satellite, our military managed to destroy thousands of military targets, including the Rostov-on-Don submarine and the Minsk large landing ship, to name a few. It paid itself off dozens of times.”

The fundraising campaign initially aimed to purchase Bayraktar drones. However, when the manufacturer donated the drones instead, the $20 million raised was redirected toward acquiring the satellite and access to ICEYE’s database.

Prytula emphasized the unprecedented nature of this civilian contribution to national defense, stating, “I don’t remember any case when civil society bought a satellite for defense intelligence of its country. And Ukrainians are the ones who did it.”

The satellite’s Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technology allows for detailed imagery regardless of weather conditions or time of day. HUR reports that the “people’s satellite” has enabled them to capture over 4,700 images of Russian military objects, including airfields, air defense positions, and fuel depots.

Politico notes that approximately 38% of the data obtained through ICEYE has been used to plan attacks on Russian positions.

The article also explores the broader implications of private satellites in modern warfare. CEO of Planet, another satellite company, William Marshall, told Politico, “The defense and security applications are very large.” He explained how their technology could be used to assess ground conditions for planning tank routes.

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