In-Orbit Demonstration Programme Mission 5

Closing Date



The Satellite Applications Catapult (Catapult) invites applications to the In-Orbit Demonstration Mission 5 (IOD-5), an opportunity to develop a bespoke satellite mission to trial technologies that will deliver a commercial downstream product or service.

IOD-5 offers a new flight opportunity (including launch) on a satellite . Whilst the mission is scoped around a nominal 6U CubeSat, there is flexibility around the platform and associated launch that can offer equivalent or enhanced capabilities. Hence, the Catapult invites proposals that use alternative spacecraft platforms and launch. Mission concepts could include 2 x 3U CubeSats, hosted payloads, a larger platform requiring additional investment, or any other alternative platform and associated launch.

The key requirement to a successful IOD mission (and selection thereof) is to demonstrate a new satellite-enabled service solution and business proposition with a high projected return on investment and a clear route to market following completion of the demonstration mission.

Procurement of the platform(s) and launch will be through a separate invitation to tender (ITT), defined in collaboration with partners selected from responses to this Announcement of Opportunity (AO).

Further information

The size of the mission is expected to be defined by an indicative cost envelope of £650k to cover satellite(s) and launch procurement. Issue of the respective purchase order is expected to occur no later than March 2018.

Process and timeline

Responses to the AO will feed into a shortlisting process designed to select three candidate partners. These partners will sign a collaboration agreement with the Catapult to spend up to three months working with the Catapult team on their respective service concepts. The output of this activity is expected to be equivalent to an ECSS-style Phase-A/B feasibility study and preliminary mission definition. These requirements will be used to define the ITT for one or several appropriate satellite platform(s) and launch, in addition to forming the basis for a final pitch to the IOD board.

Please note that entities bidding for the AO can explicitly refer to a preferred platform and/or launch provider, but these organisation(s) must also respond to the RFI to be considered.

A maximum of 3 missions will be shortlisted at the end of October 2017, with an expectation to begin the analysis and definition work with the Catapult immediately in November. The platform(s) and launch ITT will be opened no earlier than the beginning of December, based on the requirements established in the feasibility and preliminary design phase.

The final candidate will be selected following a pitch-day at the beginning of February. This will include selection of a satellite service provider and launch. Contract award and procurement of the mission is expected to occur no later than March 2018. Preparation and scheduling of a Preliminary Design Review together with the platform(s) provider, successful candidate and the Catapult is expected to occur shortly after contract award.

IOD Mission 5 timeline


Applications for this opportunity are now closed. For any questions or clarifications regarding these opportunities please contact the IOD team using the following email address:

About IOD-5

IOD-5 will be the fifth mission delivered of the Catapult IOD Programme, funded by Innovate UK. Following the same pattern as the current IOD Programme missions (IOD-1, 2, 3 and 4), the mission objective is to demonstrate new, commercial satellite-based service(s) in partnership with UK businesses. The expected outcome is a de-risked business case to enable our collaborators to secure further customers, partners and funding.

The current In-Orbit Demonstration (IOD) Programme offers 4 low cost missions making use of 3U platforms from Clyde Space and launches to the ISS and deployment from the ISS provided by NanoRacks. This was funded through £1.5m provided by Innovate UK. These missions have for objectives the demonstration of ‘technical and business propositions with a high projected return on investment and a clear route to market’. Innovate UK has now agreed to fund an additional mission and extend the scope of the programme to allow for consideration of alternative platforms in addition to the 3U CubeSats used previously. The objectives for the missions remain the same and the launch date will be decided in coordination with the successful satellite service provider.

Cookies on Catapult explained

To comply with EU directives we now provide detailed information about the cookies we use. To find out more about cookies on this site, what they do and how to remove them, see our information about cookies. Click OK to continue using this site.