arwell, UK, 22 November 2023: In a move that further cements its position as a leading pioneer in the UK's burgeoning space sector, Open Cosmos has been awarded a £5 million project from the UK government’s Space Clusters and Infrastructure Fund (SCIF). Open Cosmos will use the funding to expand its manufacturing and R&D capability for microsatellite and constellation markets, while also extending its reach of data commercialisation and expertise with organisations such as Space Park Leicester.
The UK Space Agency’s SCIF is the UK's first dedicated fund for space infrastructure and supports UK organisations leading the way to make space products mission-ready and sell them into commercial markets. It was launched to enable industry pioneers to invest in R&D facilities and equipment nationwide that will bring high-potential, high-value space technologies to market.
This fund will not only help make the UK’s satellite market more accessible, affordable and useful but will further establish the UK as a global space leader. The space sector is worth over £17.5bn to the UK economy and employs 48,800 people nationwide.
Expanding in Harwell and beyond
Open Cosmos is expanding its state-of-the-art industrial R&D and manufacturing capability at its Harwell campus site. By installing new test facilities such as a vibration table and a TVAC chamber – both of which are crucial for scaling the speed and size of satellite production - Open Cosmos will more than double its capacity and have the ability to build larger satellites.
Constellation production is essential for improving the revisit rate of satellite data, while larger satellites enable more technologically complex and demanding payloads to be hosted, broadening the diversity of satellite data that Open Cosmos will deliver through its data platform DataCosmos.
The grant will also see Open Cosmos strengthen its satellite data and analytics expertise for DataCosmos, through stronger links with Space Park Leicester – the £100 million space hub set up by the internationally renowned space experts at the University of Leicester.
A trusted pioneer
Open Cosmos was founded in 2015 to democratise access to space. The company is one of the few businesses in the world that delivers end-to-end telecommunications, Earth Observation (EO), navigation, and scientific missions. It designs, builds, launches and operates advanced satellites through its OpenOrbit offering; enables organisations to access and share data via its mutualised OpenConstellation infrastructure and offers AI-powered data analysis from a growing range of satellite sources and analytic partners via its DataCosmos platform.
With Open Cosmos, organisations globally access and benefit from the richness of satellite data to address their most pressing challenges from monitoring agriculture and logistics, to navigation solutions, tracking deforestation and biodiversity, and more. During natural disasters or war, satellite imagery can provide real-time data, for example, helping to assess the extent of damage and coordinate relief efforts, while satellites equipped with specialised sensors on its Open Constellation satellites can detect and monitor oil spills before they are even visible from the ground.
The SCIF funding is the latest milestone in what has been a year of substantial growth for the company. In September, Open Cosmos raised $50 million in Series B funding – the largest round for a UK space tech so far in 2023. This marked the first time the company had raised external funding since 2018, doubling revenues year-on-year. It has also been involved in innovative missions, including the MANTIS satellite launched two weeks ago, developed with the support of the ESA and co-funded by UKSA, and was recently selected by the National Commission for Aerospace Research and Development (CONIDA) to develop a data platform aimed at transforming geospatial data distribution in Peru.
Rafel Jorda Siquier, CEO and founder at Open Cosmos, said: "The UK is a pioneer in many areas of the global space ecosystem and it is initiatives like this from the UK Space Agency and the SCIF which enables its pioneering ecosystem to continue to grow. This funding will accelerate our mission to democratise access to critical space infrastructure by allowing faster integration of bigger payloads onboard our satellites.”
Paul Bate, CEO at UK Space Agency, continued: "Open Cosmos's proven track record makes them an ideal recipient for this grant. Their focus on innovation and sustainable growth aligns with SCIF's objectives to advance the UK's space R&D infrastructure and bring high-value space technologies to market."