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Serhiy Prytula: New satellite made Ukrainian intelligence ‘happy like kids’

by Daryna Antoniuk September 30, 2022 7:32 PM 2 min read

The image of the Crimean Bridge that connects mainland Russia with Russian-occupied Crimea made with a Finnish-produced satellite ICEYE. (ICEYE)

Ukrainian comedian turned politician Serhiy Prytula said spending the $17 million fundraised by Ukrainians to purchase a satellite from the Finnish microsatellite manufacturer ICEYE was a “great decision.”

Ukraine’s military is satisfied with the data provided by the satellite, Prytula said during the IT Arena 2022 tech conference on Sept. 30 in Lviv.

Prytula’s comments followed a statement by Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov on Sept. 29 that Ukraine has recouped its investment in the satellite in just two days.

According to Reznikov, thanks to the data collected by the satellite, Ukraine was able to destroy more than 60 units of Russian military equipment worth more than Kyiv paid for the satellite.

As per the agreement with ICEYE in August, Ukraine is the sole owner of the satellite and has access to data collected by nearly 20 other satellites belonging to the firm.

See also: Ukrainian charity buys satellite for the army. How will it help fight against Russia?

The ICEYE satellite is able to detect the Earth’s surface in any weather and at night, making it more effective than optical satellites.

The funds used to buy the satellite were originally intended to purchase Bayraktar drones, according to Prytula, which the Turkish manufacturer Baykar provided Ukraine for free.

Ukraine has not previously had its own satellite and has sourced data from external sources, such as the U.S., European Union, and China. After the start of Russia’s full-scale war, Ukraine has received free satellite imagery from companies such as Maxar Technologies, Planet, and BlackSky as part of military aid packages.

Satellite imagery is essential during the war, as it allows Kyiv and its allies to assess the movement of Russian troops in Ukraine and also monitor Russia.

“When they told me, ‘Let’s buy a satellite,’ I thought they were aliens,’” Prytula said. “And damn, that was a great decision.”

“If you don’t trust what our Defense Ministry says about the results of this project, I don’t know who else you can trust,” Prytula added.

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“We truly need popular support, especially during wartime. Being not dependent on a single money bag telling journalists what to do has always been quite a task in Ukraine. In wartime, that’s even more important.”
Illia Ponomarenko, defense reporter
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