The satellites will be able to monitor city functions as well as industrial, mining and transport infrastructure


Cybernaut will be pumping US$70 million into the creation of a group of 10 satellites for daily imaging of the 100 biggest cities in the world with an accuracy of 0.7 metres per pixel.

The Chinese investment fund will be collaborating with Russian private space company Dauria Aerospace.

The pair signed a term sheet yesterday at the second Chinese-Russian Expo in Harbin, China, on the formation of a joint venture for the project, named UrbanObserver, according to a statement by Skolkovo Foundation.

It is the first collaboration under the deal that Skolkovo Foundation — which counts Dauria Aerospace as a partner company — and Cybernaut signed in April this year.

The agreement will see the creation of a new 1,500-square-metre R&D business incubator, robotics centre and US$200-million venture fund. It also aims to ease new Russian companies — mainly those in Skolkovo that specialise in IT, robotics, and space and telecommunication technologies — into the Chinese market.

“Our company is the pioneer of private aerospace in Russia and is strategically aimed at expansion into the new market niche of space technology application,” said Sergey Ivanov, CEO and Co-founder of Dauria Aerospace.

“At the moment, there are no solutions that provide monitoring with an exceptional shooting frequency of all aspects of the city’s functions, including industrial, mining, and transport infrastructure. UrbanObserver can become a key element for the development of Chinese-Russian infrastructure projects,” Ivanov added.

The Auriga satellite, a prototype for the satellites that will form the UrbanObserver constellation, is still under development with investments from VEB Innovations and Skolkovo Foundation. Its launch is planned for 2017.