ASX stock of the day: Kleos Space (ASX:KSS) shares rocket 21% on satellite news

The Kleos Space SA (ASX: KSS) share price is rocketing today. Here's why investors are so interested in this satellite company.

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The Kleos Space SA (ASX: KSS) share price is in the spotlight today. Kleos shares are rocketing at the time of writing, up 21.37% to 80 cents a share after closing at 66 cents a share yesterday and opening at 69 cents this morning.

Whilst today's move might seem dramatic, it's just the latest gain for Kleos shareholders, who have had a truly fantastic month. Kleos shares were 28 cents each at the start of October, which means they have risen by more than 185% since 1 October. The shares are up more than 150% year to date, and more than 400% since the company's IPO in August 2018.

So what is this high-growth share? And why is it exploding even higher today?

Kleos shares: an introduction

According to the company, Kleos Space was founded in 2017 by "experienced Space engineers". The plan was to develop a "new Space enabled Data-as-a-Service concept and disruptive in-Space technologies."

Kleos is dual-listed, sitting on the ASX as well as Germany's Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and is based in Luxembourg.

The company operates satellites and satellite infrastructure that collect radio frequency information. It states that "rather than observing the Earth in the visible domain as you would with cameras, Kleos is observing it in the 'radio frequency' part of the spectrum using antennas".

By using its satellites in conjunction with each other, it can identify where radio signals are coming from on the Earth. It's a sort of "reverse GPS", as the company describes the technology.

In this way, Kleos can determine whether signals it receives are coming from legitimate activity, or activity that might indicate an illegal operation, particularly in the maritime space. Thus, Kleos can assist with finding illegal fishing, smuggling and trafficking operations, and monitoring national borders. It sells this data as a service to governments and companies.

Fly me to the moon

Kleos has been progressing its scouting satellites program over the past month. This program aims to deliver commercially available data as well as demonstrate the company's technology, underpinning plans for future expansion.

Kleos has a ride-share contract with the US-based Spaceflight Inc., and has four satellites at  'mission-ready' status, where they have been since since the middle of 2019. They were ready to go at the launch site in February 2020, with the launch planned for March before the coronavirus pandemic delayed launch operations.

However, back in September, Kleos told investors that it has a new tentative launch date for early November, which saw a jump in the Kleos share price at the time. Today, this has been reaffirmed. Kleos told the markets this morning that it expects the launch to take place on Saturday 7 November. This will be the first phase of the satellite's lifecycle, known as "the Launch and Early Orbit Phase".

According to today's announcement, this "is a critical phase of the mission, covering launch, deployment and in orbit commissioning to handover to the Mission Operations Team to enact day to day operations and data generation activities."

It's estimated that this phase will last 9–12 weeks. After that, the satellite will undergo a handover to the Missions Operations Team for the next stage.

Judging by the enthusiastic reaction of the markets this morning to the news, investors appear to be relieved to have some firm dates from Kleos. 

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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