Open Cosmos and the Satellite Applications Catapult sign agreement for an OpenConstellation satellite

  • Open Cosmos and the Satellite Applications Catapult sign an agreement to launch an innovative new Earth observation satellite to join Open Cosmos’ OpenConstellation
  • The satellite will perform pole-to-pole observation of Atlantic coastal and maritime areas
  • The satellite is part of the Catapult’s In-Orbit Demonstration programme

Harwell, Oxfordshire – May 2023 – Space innovation and technology company the Satellite Applications Catapult, and leading space mission and data provider, Open Cosmos have signed an agreement to build and launch a key demonstration satellite to join the Open Cosmos OpenConstellation. The satellite will be launched as early as Q1 2024.

The satellite will host a miniaturised Earth Observation payload, with integrated onboard processing capabilities able to acquire, process, compress, store and forward medium-resolution hyperspectral imagery for Atlantic coastal and maritime areas.

The mission will demonstrate a concept of operations for a constellation performing pole-to-pole observation of the Atlantic Ocean involving systematic acquisition of images from pre-defined land and maritime targets, and on-board image processing.

Addressing global challenges with the OpenConstellation    

The OpenConstellation is a global shared satellite infrastructure built and managed by Open Cosmos to provide diverse, frequent and reliable data of our changing planet. Countries, institutions and companies are contributing satellites to create the world’s biggest mutualised constellation. Open Cosmos is already delivering satellites to the OpenConstellation, which have been contributed by leading space organisations in the UK, Spain and Portugal, and with Satellite Applications Catapult being a key UK partner. The constellation will provide key insights to address the climate emergency and monitor a sustainable use of natural resources.

A constellation to monitor the Atlantic

This satellite will also demonstrate, in orbit, some of the capabilities and solutions that a future constellation to monitor the Atlantic will deploy at scale. This constellation is an ambitious project to use data collected from satellites to deal with the challenges in the Atlantic Ocean from ocean pollution to illegal fishing. Data and imagery gathered from this satellite and others in the constellation will be used for marine ecosystem research and climate change monitoring, based on fast coverage and frequent revisits of areas of interest. Scientific organisations, commercial businesses and national and international governments will all be able to access this essential data. 

The satellite is part of the Catapult’s In-Orbit Demonstration (IOD) programme which is funded by Innovate UK and the UK Space Agency. The IOD programme offers partners a fast-track, low-cost opportunity to test their service or technology on a CubeSat mission launched into Low Earth Orbit, accelerating the time to market for innovative products and services from space.

Open Cosmos had previously been selected as the satellite platform provider for IOD. Today’s announcement confirms that Open Cosmos will also provide the payload, ground segment, operations systems and data processing and distribution for the mission.

Rafel Jordá Siquier, CEO of Open Cosmos said:

“We are delighted to have the Satellite Applications Catapult joining the OpenConstellation. This satellite will be instrumental in better understanding global environmental challenges - especially the ones affecting the Atlantic Ocean and coastal areas.  Our mission is to make space more accessible and I am sure that together with the Catapult we can help a lot more organisations to have access to this critical information.”

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult said:

“Open Cosmos continues to innovate and make exceptional progress as one of our leading small satellite companies. It’s testament to their success that they have not only been selected to provide the platform for this mission, but the payload as well, and that is down to the strength of their idea and their long-term goals for the OpenConstellation project. The IOD programme was designed for exactly this kind of mission and for companies leading the evolution of the sector like Open Cosmos.”