The Satellite Applications Catapult is now inviting applications for the development of a dedicated satellite mission to trial technologies that will deliver a new commercial downstream product or service, under the In-Orbit Demonstration Programme Mission 5 (IOD-5).
IOD-5 builds upon the existing In-Orbit Demonstration Programme funded by Innovate UK and the Catapult, and offers a new opportunity to fly and test technology on a satellite, including launch. The proposed technologies can benefit any application area, such as climate and environment, agriculture, maritime, location-based services, communications, logistics and fleet services, and smart cities.
Whilst the mission is scoped around a nominal 6U CubeSat, there is flexibility around both the platform and launch that can offer equivalent or enhanced capabilities. The Catapult is therefore inviting proposals that use alternative spacecraft platforms and launch.
Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, said: “We’re looking for innovative proposals that will demonstrate a new satellite-enabled service solution and business proposition. Proposals must offer the potential for high return on investment and a clear route to market, following completion of the demonstration mission. Our smaller missions IOD 1-4 have generated a lot of interest to date, and we are confident that there will be even greater interest in IOD-5 due to its additional capability.”
Up to three missions will be shortlisted by 31 October 2017, with the analysis and definition work starting in November. The Catapult will then work with the respective candidates to develop their concepts, and the winning team will be selected following a pitch day in early February. Contract award and procurement of the mission are expected to be no later than March 2018.
The current IOD Programme offers four low-cost missions, making use of 3U platforms from Clyde Space, and launches to and deployment from the ISS provided by NanoRacks. This was funded with support from £1.5m provided by Innovate UK, which has now agreed to fund an additional mission and extend the programme’s scope to allow for consideration of alternative platforms in addition to the 3U CubeSats used previously.