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First data collected by Satellite Applications Catapult’s first In-Orbit Demonstration programme satellite

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Following successful deployment from the International Space Station on 3rd July 2019 at 11.15am (BST), satellite for IOD-1 GEMS have successfully tasked the satellite to perform its first observations and downlinked the data via the Satellite Applications Catapult’s satellite ground station in Goonhilly, Cornwall.

The Global Environmental Monitoring Satellite’s (GEMS) MiniRad payload designed and developed by Orbital Micro Systems, is a microwave radiometer that measures atmospheric temperature and includes a novel 3-D printed mirror.

After completing just over two weeks of commissioning tests following deployment into orbit, operators commanded payload acquisition during which data was collected in two five- and ten-minute sessions, from the Satellite Applications Catapult’s Operations Centre in Harwell, Oxfordshire.

Data were successfully downlinked during the subsequent pass over the ground station in the early hours of Saturday 20th July and prepared in the Catapult’s cloud-based Climate, Environment and Monitoring from Space (CEMS) system for transfer to Orbital Micro Systems for further processing and analysis.

When the full planned , the data collected will be used to enable a variety of industries, including the aviation sector, to mitigate against inclement weather events with increased forecasting abilities providing by data that will be refreshed up to every 15 minutes.

IOD-1 GEMS has already enabled Orbital Micro Systems to expand their operations into the UK and the successful commissioning of the satellite also represents an achievement for the consortium of UK-based partners behind the project, including

The mission is further supported by Japanese space communication infrastructure company, Infostellar, whose Stellar Station service is being used to manage ground station passes and route data to the operations centre.

It is expected that IOD-1 GEMS will be fully operational for the next six months. Over the coming weeks mission operators will be working towards full science operations and transition to automated satellite modes for data acquisition and downlink.

Find out more about the programme.


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Satellite Applications Catapult
+44 (0)1235 567999
We help organisations make use of, and benefit from, satellite technologies, and bring together multi-disciplinary teams to generate ideas and solutions in an open innovation environment.

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