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Horizon Technologies in 2021

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On the first episode of our new podcast, In-Orbit we were joined by Graeme Taylor from the Satellite Applications Catapult, Pam Anderson from AAC Clyde Space, and John Beckner from Horizon Technologies, to explore what the small satellite revolution means for satellite manufacturing and the data we can receive from space. Listen here

John, CEO of Horizon Technologies, discusses what is in the future for Horizon and how their technologies are tackling challenges across the maritime domain, including piracy and illegal fishing.


Horizon Technologies is coming off its best year ever in 2020 with sales over £4.5 Million from our Horizon Aerospace business segment. As a result of its continued success and growth of the company, Horizon Technologies is now operating as two separate business units:  Horizon Aerospace Technologies, and Horizon Space Technologies.

In 2020, we delivered our first Amber™ CubeSat payload to AAC Clyde Space in preparation for our IOD-3 launch in mid-2021. The whole Amber™ team, led by the Satellite Applications Catapult, and including our partners L3Harris, AAC Clyde Space, and Nanoracks are working flat out to make sure we meet our August launch date on SpaceX-23.

Our worldwide marketing efforts are growing after the constraints of 2020, and we will be attending the IDEX Aerospace Show in Abu Dhabi in February, and meeting with numerous Amber™ government customers from the Gulf Region and elsewhere. We also have a number of Amber™ workshops together with the UK Government planned for 2Q 2021 once Covid restrictions allow these to move forward.

Once we launch this summer, our Amber™ Space-Based Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) Intelligence data will be available to customers worldwide; led by the UK Government. The Amber™ constellation will be a state-of-the-art 2nd Generation Constellation which doesn’t require “clusters” of CubeSats for RF data collection. Amber™ will provide demodulated data to our customers rather than mere geolocations. Even before the first Amber™ launch, we will be providing data to the UK Government from one of our terrestrial AmberPersistent stations which provide 24/7 sensor coverage of strategic maritime chokepoints.  2021 promises to be the break-out year for Amber™ and we plan to book the next two (2) Amber™ launches for late 2021, and early 2022. The Amber-2 and Amber-3 launches will be with our more advanced payload which will have additional RF intelligence collection capabilities as requested by our government customers.

Amber™ has been primarily developed to help countries control their maritime domain. Its genesis was a set of requirements by the UK National Maritime Information Centre (NMIC) in Portsmouth. All commercial vessels are required to have AIS transmitters that constantly update their location.  Any vessel engaged in illegal activity (piracy, illegal fishing, smuggling people or goods, transshipments, etc.) turns off their AIS transmitter. Amber™ is designed to detect other RF signals emitted by these vessels; Radar, Sat Phones, Satcom terminal transmissions, etc. It allows governments to correlate these signals, and immediately have a clear picture of maritime activity as part of their Maritime Domain Awareness efforts.  Amber™ will also allow commercial companies to enhance their fleet management, and always know where their vessels are; even if a ship’s AIS isn’t working, or its GPS navigation is being “spoofed.”

The Horizon Aerospace segment’s FlyingFish™ airborne SIGINT system was in use all over the world in 2020 saving refugees, combating illegal fishing, smuggling, transshipments, terrorism, etc. Within six (6) years, FlyingFish™ has become the world’s preferred, fully airborne qualified, Sat Phone SIGINT solution for manned and unmanned aircraft. Since 2015, many thousands of refugees have been rescued in the Mediterranean Sea alone due to the use of FlyingFish™. 2021 will see additional sales of our transformational Xtender product for UAVs as well as a major new product announcement.


John Beckner
CEO, Horizon Technologies

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