Open Cosmos to build the UK pathfinder Atlantic Constellation satellite to use AI to improve environmental management


elfast, 21 November 2023: Open Cosmos - the leading space tech business making satellites that gather data to solve pressing global challenges - is today announcing it is building the UK pathfinder satellite for the Atlantic Constellation. 

The Atlantic Constellation is a flagship global project for the development of a constellation of small satellites for Ocean, Earth and Climate monitoring. The UK is aiming to join Portugal and Spain in contributing to from this innovative data-sharing network. The data gathered from the Constellation will be used to support disaster relief action, early detection of climate change indicators, increasing agricultural productivity and improving energy use.

The pathfinder satellite will be built by Open Cosmos at its headquarters at Harwell Space Campus, Oxfordshire, using the same design as three of the Portugal satellites. The four satellites will be launched in the same orbital plane, constituting the first batch of the constellation. The UK satellite will increase the frequency of revisit time by 33% at the beginning of the Constellation formation, offering valuable and regularly updated data, and supporting critical services such as the detection, monitoring and mitigation of natural disasters.

The data access and provision policies for members of the Atlantic Constellation will shortly be established. During the first year of operations, UK users are expected to be able to task the satellite over an area of interest and benefit from higher-frequency data and shorter re-visit times over the UK.

This new commitment will further strengthen the UK’s national capabilities in Earth observation technology and complement the UK’s contributions to the EU Copernicus programme, European Space Agency and bilateral missions. The UK Space Agency is providing £3 million to support the build of the new satellite. 

Rafael Jorda Siquier, Chief Executive of Open Cosmos, said: 

“Building a shared satellite constellation is a very effective way of having high revisit diverse data over each region of interest. The UK aiming to join Portugal and Spain in the Atlantic Constellation is a major step forward in the national EO strategy and we are very proud that Open Cosmos has been contracted to deliver the first UK pathfinder satellite.”

Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, Andrew Griffith, said of the announcement: 

“Earth observation will play an absolutely vital role in tackling global challenges like climate change and disaster relief, providing the data we need at speed, while supporting key UK industries like agriculture and energy.

 “By working with Open Cosmos on a new satellite and supporting our Atlantic partners, Spain and Portugal, we can harness space tech for our shared goals, while creating new skills, opportunities and jobs for the future to grow the UK economy.”

Open Cosmos is a growing company that has recently added a further two satellite missions to its OpenConstellation, successfully launched on 11th November and recently raised $50 million in Series B funding from leading impact investors to accelerate its international growth and expand its product offering.

Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: 

“There’s no better way to open the UK Space Conference than by backing a new Earth observation mission.

“Space has been shaping our lives for decades but is set to become increasingly critical as we take the necessary steps to protect our planet, drive prosperity and push the boundaries of human knowledge.

“That’s why we are focused on catalysing investment, delivering new missions and capabilities in areas such as Earth observation, and championing the opportunities that our growing space sector brings to people and businesses up and down the country.”