The Opportunity for IOSM



IOSM offers a wealth of opportunities for the UK Space sector – from extending the working lives of satellites by refuelling and repairing them, to the manufacture of large structures in space including space stations and space-based solar power farms. The sector can also take advantage of microgravity conditions to manufacture products that simply cannot be created on earth including novel pharmaceuticals and new composites and alloys.

Through collaboration and innovation, UK leadership in building a thriving space economy can be secured, leaving a legacy of prosperity whilst delivering environmental, economic, scientific and other benefits for the UK and the wider global population.



Our technologists have identified a host of opportunities that are made possible by IOSM:

What if you could build large aperture telescopes and instruments in space using ISAM/IOSAM techniques?

Enabling higher resolution Earth observation and interferometric synthetic aperture radar (INSAR) capabilities for mapping, monitoring, and analysis.

What if large high-gain antennas and arrays could be manufactured and assembled in orbit?

Increasing data transmission rates and power budgets for communications and connectivity satellites.

What if the lifespan of satellites providing critical space-based services could be extended through repair, refueling, and upgrades?

Providing continuous television, weather, navigation and other “fit for purpose” services cost-effectively without having to launch replacement satellites.


What if structures too massive to launch, like giant solar power stations, or Space stations, could be constructed on-orbit?

Unlocking the ability to generate immense amounts of renewable energy in space for use on Earth or in space habitats.

What if we could recycle dead satellites and orbital debris into inputs for ISAM manufacturing?

Turning space junk into resources, enabling a sustainable circular economy in Earth orbit.

The Challenges to Overcome


High upfront costs: Developing and deploying IOSM technologies and infrastructure requires significant initial investment.

Uncertain return on investment: The long-term economic benefits of IOSM are still being explored, making it challenging to secure funding from investors and stakeholders.

Lack of established business models: IOSM is a relatively new field, and viable business models for commercial operations are still emerging.


Technological complexity: IOSM involves various advanced technologies, which require extensive research and development.

Compatibility and standardization: IOSM systems need to be compatible with different spacecraft designs, which requires standardization and collaboration.


Market demand and acceptance: The commercial viability of IOSM depends on the demand for services from satellite operators and space agencies, which are influenced by factors such as cost-effectiveness, risk perception, and regulatory considerations.

Competition from traditional approaches: IOSM must compete with other approaches to satellite replacement and maintenance, which may be more established and less risky.


Legal and policy frameworks: IOSM operations raise various legal and policy questions related to liability, ownership, and responsibility, which require clear regulatory frameworks.

International cooperation and governance: IOSM requires international cooperation and governance mechanisms to ensure compliance with international laws and treaties.

Our Facilities

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In-Orbit Servicing and Manufacturing Yard

National In-Orbit Servicing Control Centre

In-Orbit Servicing and Manufacturing Yard

The IOSM Yard is a state-of-the-art facility for testing close-proximity operations and in-orbit servicing technologies. It provides a dynamic platform to validate technologies prior to launch using robotic equipment to simulate a microgravity environment.

The yard is currently undergoing a £2m upgrade funded by the UK Space Agency to support the growing IOSM sector within the UK, providing access to the large-scale equipment needed to replicate orbital conditions and flight dynamics.

  • Dynamic tracking
  • Real-time positioning
  • Gravity off-load system
  • Enhanced orbital simulation environment
  • Increased digital twin capabilities
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National In-Orbit Servicing Control Centre

Cost-effective support for satellite flight operations – providing the UK with its own dedicated mission control centre for in-orbit servicing missions.

  • Monitor and control CCSDS-compliant missions.
  • Connect to SLE compliant ground stations.
  • End-to-end operations
  • Generic and multi mission functionality
  • Capability to download, process, archive, and disseminate payload data and products
  • Virtualised service and thin client environment for flexibility in operations and scalability for multiple missions.
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