The first Dutch military satellite will launch on June 30th from Mojave Air & Space Port in California. The BRIK II nanosatellite will be launched into orbit by the California-based company Virgin Orbit. The launch will take place between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM ET. BRIK II is an experimental project of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, with this launch the Netherlands Ministry of Defense will officially enter the space domain.
BRIK II also means a new step in the strong military cooperation between the Netherlands and the United States. Representatives of the Ministry of Defense and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Washington, D.C. will be present at the launch.
The launch can be watched live here.
In 2019, NATO underlined the importance of using space by declaring it as an operational domain. The Dutch Ministry of Defense describes the use of space as an indispensable link within an information driven Armed Forces. The Netherlands military is already highly dependent on satellites, for example, the use of navigation and communication systems. And when it comes to strategic intelligence, the use of space is indispensable.
The United States has been a major player in this field for years, together with several other NATO member states. A high-tech country like the Netherlands believes a military presence in space helps keep NATO better informed.
In cooperation with Dutch industry and knowledge institutes, the choice has been made to explore scalable and affordable capacities for the military use of space. The launch is a first test to demonstrate the potential of nanosatellites for military and civilian use.
The designer and developer of BRIK II is Innovative Solutions in Space from Delft, the Netherlands. The Royal Netherlands Aerospace Center (NLR) has developed new technologies that are put into practice via the BRIK II. In addition, there is collaboration with Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and internationally with the University of Oslo.
Nanosatellites, slightly bigger than a milk carton, are less expensive than the traditional and bigger satellites and can be launched into orbit on a bigger scale, which results in a less vulnerable and more redundant system.
The name BRIK II refers to the first aircraft for the Royal Netherlands Air Force. This plane was used in 1913 to explore the domain of aviation.