Catapult expands In-Orbit Demonstration Programme working with Open Cosmos to offer new 6U CubeSat mission opportunity

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The Satellite Applications Catapult is expanding its landmark In-Orbit Demonstration (IOD) Programme with support from the UK Space Agency.

In collaboration with Open Cosmos, today we are announcing IOD-6, a new mission offering companies the opportunity to trial their service using a larger 6U CubeSat platform in a diverse range of orbit options.

The In-Orbit Demonstration Programme lowers the cost of access to space and time to launch, enabling companies to accelerate satellite-based products and services to market faster. Successful candidates will be able to design, develop and launch their IOD-6 mission within 18 months.

By demonstrating the operational capability of their service through IOD-6, companies are in a stronger position to secure investment and customers.

Open Cosmos will be working with the successful candidate to integrate the payload in qbkit and simulate the mission performance on qbapp. Once the payload is validated, Open Cosmos will provide a one-stop-shop mission service integrating the payload in a 6U qbee nanosatellite, performing full functional and environmental tests, procuring the launch and enabling the successful candidate to operate the payload in orbit through their qbapp mission control software.

The Satellite Applications Catapult will provide comprehensive mission, operations and business support to help the company accelerate to operational capability and initial service delivery. The IOD-6 mission is supported by a grant of œ700,000 from the UK Space Agency.

Stuart Martin, CEO, Satellite Applications Catapult, said: “The In-Orbit Demonstration Programme is unique; no other nation offers the end-to-end mission and business development support that we have built with IOD. By lowering the cost of access to space and accelerating services to market, IOD addresses key barriers to innovation in the sector. IOD-6 is a great opportunity for companies looking for a larger satellite platform and represents a significant milestone in the IOD programme.

“We are looking forward to working with Open Cosmos to deliver the mission. They are a great addition to the IOD network and part of a wider dynamic and entrepreneurial community that is driving growth in the UK space sector.”

Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth, UK Space Agency, said: “We recognise that low cost access to space is vital in developing a range of innovative space applications which will help grow the UK space sector. We are working hard with partners, including the Satellite Applications Catapult, to make space more accessible. This exciting mission with Open Cosmos is a great example of the support out there for small companies with big ideas.”

Open Cosmos will be announcing their involvement in IOD-6 today at the New Space Showcase hosted by the Harwell Space Cluster and attended by HRH The Duke of York.

Rafael Jorda Siquier, Founder and CEO, Open Cosmos said: “At Open Cosmos we are working very hard to make space accessible so organisations of all sizes and industries can solve the world’s biggest challenges. The possibilities are tremendous: global IoT/telecommunication services, remote sensing payload measuring agriculture yields, monitoring infrastructure, performing environmental control, you name it. We are delighted that the IOD Programme has contracted our space mission services that will bring to orbit the most competitive service-oriented space businesses and technologies.”

The IOD-6 application round is open now and candidates can find all the relevant information on the Catapult?s website. Interested parties need to submit their proposal by 3 September 2018. Applications are welcome from individual companies or consortium, but all proposals must clearly demonstrate the sustainable commercial potential of the product or service the mission is testing.

For organisations that have a payload to fly but need a customer, or for companies with a service idea but need a technology provider, they are encouraged to contact the IOD team who will help connect them with potential partners to submit an application.

Applications from outside the UK are eligible, but the proposal must clearly demonstrate how the company will bring economic benefit to the UK.