With Naval Group, startup Prometheus continues to grow

The summer was rich and intense for Prometheus, who is shaking up the French and European space observation industry. This is also the whole meaning of the memorandum of understanding that the startup, chaired at full steam by Olivier Piepsz, signed Thursday with the Naval Group. The two companies will carry out a joint study that aims to integrate satellite data into the naval tactical situation of warships in order to anticipate all threats suffered by French Navy ships and those sold for export by the Naval Group. “It’s critical that an aircraft carrier or frigate sees beyond its horizon line, has much more accurate information, and ultimately has ongoing observations for the benefit of the ship’s surveillance.”explains to the Tribune Olivier Piepsz.

“The objective of this study is to validate the feasibility and added value of integrating real-time satellite data into information systems on Naval Group’s military platforms, and then studying the market for this type of service”, specifies the president of Prometheus. .

Space, new added value for the naval sector

Space is becoming increasingly essential to the naval world, whether military or civilian. That’s where the startup’s skills come in: its Japetus constellation, equipped with 20 satellites with metric (or even lower) resolution, which will be deployed from 2025, will provide global geographic coverage with a high daily revisit rate (every 45 minutes to certain latitudes). This constellation could be an asset to the surveillance of 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, data from traditional sensors aboard buildings (radar, drones and deployed aircraft). In addition to surveillance, the French Navy should also be able to use it for the pursuit of suspicious ships. Satellite imagery can even help detect submarines. These services will naturally have commercial outlets in the military naval sector, but also in the civil domain in the field of maritime security (pollution, fishing and illegal immigration, traffic of all kinds, surveillance of coasts and ports, etc.).

In this context, Prometheus will provide satellite data to Naval Group, which will offer it to its customers. But Prometheus aims at much more. What the startup already offers the naval world, it wants to adapt this space data service to the land and air worlds.

Japetus on the launch pad

Summer also brought very good news for Prometheus. If the startup successfully launched its Japetus Earth observation nanosatellite constellation, equipped with high-resolution multispectral cameras (Simera) developed by Safran Reosc, owes this in particular to the French recovery plan. Thus, CNES decided to allocate 3.5 million euros to the Japetus demonstrator within the scope of the France Relance plan, which it co-manages with the Directorate-General 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, a factor of 10 improvement over space systems. traditional”says Prometheus.

Prometheus’ first satellite, “ProtoMéthée-1”, is currently being manufactured by 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 Japetus constellation of Prometheus will offer “a stay in space and time unprecedented in Europe”emphasizes Prometheus. Embedded artificial intelligence technologies and intraconstellation connectivity (particularly with the kineis constellation) will produce information cycles in near real time.

All these successes oblige Olivier Piepsz to accelerate the rise of Prometheus, which, after having raised around 7 million euros and obtained aid of 3.5 million, needs a new fundraising of 11 million euros by the end of the year. Fundraising that should be facilitated by Prometheus’ commercial and technological dynamism…