Open Cosmos and Satellite Applications Catapult announce expanding In-Orbit Demonstration Programme with new 6U CubeSat mission opportunity

14 Jun, 2018
Press Releases

Open Cosmos has been contracted by the Satellite Applications Catapult to provide its fast and affordable space mission service to the In-Orbit Demonstration program (IOD-6). This will enable the space technologies with the best commercial capabilities to benefit from Open Cosmos’ 6U full mission services.

The Satellite Applications Catapult is expanding with this mission its landmark In-Orbit Demonstration (IOD) Programme offering IOD-6. In collaboration with Open Cosmos, the IOD-6 mission offers companies the opportunity to trial their service using a larger 6U CubeSat platform in a diverse range of orbit options. By demonstrating the operational capability of their service through IOD-6, companies are in a stronger position to secure investment and customers. Successful candidates will be able to design, develop and launch their IOD-6 mission within 18 months.

Open Cosmos will be working with the successful candidate to integrate the payload and simulate the mission performance on qbkit and qbapp. Once the payload is validated, Open Cosmos will provide a one-stop-shop mission service integrating the payload in a 6U qbee multipurpose nanosatellite, performing full functional and environmental tests, procuring the launch and enabling the successful candidate to operate the payload in orbit through their qbapp mission control software. The Satellite Applications Catapult will provide comprehensive mission, operations and business support to help the company accelerate to operational capability and initial service delivery. The IOD-6 mission is supported by a grant of £700,000 from the UK Space Agency.

Rafael Jorda Siquier, CEO and Founder, Open Cosmos said:

“At Open Cosmos, we are obsessed in making space accessible so organizations of all sizes and industries can solve the world biggest challenges. We are delighted that the IOD-6 Programme have contracted our space mission services to bring to orbit the most competitive service oriented space technologies. There is no better way to demonstrate.”

Stuart Martin, CEO, Satellite Applications Catapult said:

“The UK is the only country in the world to offer an In-Orbit Demonstration Programme.  By lowering the cost of access to space and accelerating services to market, IOD addresses key barriers to innovation in the sector.  IOD-6 is a great opportunity for companies looking for a larger satellite platform and represents a significant milestone in the IOD programme.  We are looking forward to working with Open Cosmos to deliver the mission. They are a great addition to the IOD programme network and part of a wider dynamic and entrepreneurial community that is driving growth in the UK space sector.”

Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director for Growth, UK Space Agency said:

“We recognise that low cost access to space is vital in developing a range of innovative space applications which will help grow the UK space sector. We are working hard with partners, including the Satellite Applications Catapult, to make space more accessible. This exciting mission with Open Cosmos is a great example of the support out there for small companies with big ideas.”

The Harwell Space Cluster is attracting significant private investment into the UK’s thriving space sector, with venture capitalist and private wealth funding focusing on companies at Harwell Campus. The UK Government’s 2017 decision to locate the £99 million National Satellite Testing Facility at Harwell, the Cluster’s active involvement in the launch of the ‘Prosperity from Space’ initiative and in the Space Sector Deal, all place the Harwell Space community at the heart of the UK Space sector of today and tomorrow.

Open Cosmos assembles and tests high-quality small satellites at their on-site clean room, in an Electrostatic discharge safe environment, free from potentially electronically conductive particles and dust filtered through HEPA clean air (UHCA) networked fan filter modules. Functional tests at hot and cold temperatures of hardware are performed, ranging from -40ºC to +80ºC.

Open Cosmos will be announcing involvement in IOD-6 today at the New Space Showcase, hosted by the Harwell Space Cluster and attended by HRH The Duke of York.


For further information, please contact Kassie Perlongo, PR Manager

M: +44 (0) 7718 051702


Notes to Editors

About Open Cosmos

Based at the Harwell Space Cluster in Oxfordshire, Open Cosmos provides end-to-end mission services enabling its clients to focus on in-orbit data. This one-stop-shop to orbit allows companies to have dedicated small satellite missions for remote sensing payloads, IoT/telecommunication services, scientific research, or space technology in-orbit demonstrations. Open Cosmos manufactures its satellites in-house, procures launch services from partners, and operates “qbee” small satellite fleets using its own satellite operations system, whilst leveraging existing ground segment infrastructure.

About IOD

IOD-6 extends the current IOD 1-4 (3U CubeSat missions) and IOD-5 opportunities as part of the In -Orbit Demonstration programme.  IOD was established by Innovate UK and the Satellite Applications Catapult to address barriers to accessing space and supporting companies to accelerate their satellite-data based products and services to market faster.  In December 2017, the IOD-1 mission was awarded to Colorado based OMS, who are setting up operations in the UK to deliver the new precision weather forecasting service. Proposals for IOD-2 and IOD-5 are completing the review stage with announcements expected later this summer.

About Satellite Applications Catapult

The Satellite Applications Catapult is one of 10 Catapults established by Innovate UK, to transform the UK’s capability for innovation in specific areas and help drive future economic growth.  The Satellite Applications Catapult helps organisation make use of, and benefit from, satellite technologies, and bring together multi-disciplinary teams to generate ideas and solutions in an open innovation environment.

About UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency leads the UK’s efforts to explore and benefit from space, with responsibility for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme. It ensures Government investments in space science and technology deliver significant value to the UK economy and people’s lives.

As set out in the Industrial Strategy, the UK Space Agency works with industry to develop new technologies, infrastructure and services, and to ensure the UK thrives in the commercial space age.

The UK Space Agency:

  • Supports the work of the UK space sector at home and abroad, maximising its benefit to the UK’s growing economy.
  • Invests in science and exploration to increase our understanding of the universe and deliver practical benefits such as new technologies to life on Earth.
  • Inspires the next generation of UK scientists and engineers.
  • Provides a safe and supportive regulatory environment for the launch and operation of UK spacecraft, launch operators and UK spaceports.
  • Promotes global co-operation in space, through the UK’s membership of the European Space Agency and international partnerships.

The UK Space Agency is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

About Harwell Science and Innovation Campus

With a heritage of 75 years at the forefront of UK innovation and discovery, Harwell Campus continues to drive scientific advancements to the benefit of the UK economy and to improve the human condition, centred around an open innovation community and culture. The contribution that Harwell makes to the UK is significant – leading in research and achieving commercial success in key global markets, including Life Sciences, Space, Energy, Supercomputing, AI and Big Data. With 6,000 people employed across 250 public, private, and academic organisations and an estimated GVA of over £1billion, Harwell provides job creation and economic growth that benefits the whole country.