- In-Space Missions, a UK SME based in Bordon, Hampshire, is preparing for launch of its pioneering mission Faraday-1, the first in a series of satellites that will provide a turnkey service for commercial customers and research organisations wanting to access to space at a competitive and affordable cost
- Faraday-1 will be launched from New Zealand on Friday 3rd July 2020, on one of Rocket Lab’s Electron Rocket, with the satellite hosting seven payloads from different organisations.
In-Space Missions is a pioneering UK SME, working in the new space arena, providing affordable access to space which historically has been a hurdle for many organisations. The Faraday-1 maiden satellite is set to launch on Friday 3rd July on an Electron Rocket from New Zealand at 21.13.42 UTC, hosting seven payloads from different organisations globally, including Airbus Defence and Space, Kleos Space, Lacuna Space, the Space Environment Research Centre in Canberra, Canadensys Aerospace, Aeternum, and a major industry player.
The payloads will demonstrate a range of applications including the Internet of Things (IoT), on-orbit characterisation of an adaptive optics corrected ground-based laser, 360-degree optical video imaging, and RF spectrum monitoring. In addition, Faraday-1 will prototype the vision system and content processing for SpaceTime Enterprises, an In-Space joint venture providing real-time video from space. It will also de-risk key elements of CubeScale, a plug-and-play low cost scaling product that makes use of CubeSat technology. And finally, DSTL will be using the Faraday-1 mission platform to test satellite operations communications for future knowledge-sharing between nations.
In-Space Missions CEO, Doug Liddle, said: “We have been working on this pioneering mission for nearly two years, from concept to this point, and can’t wait for launch. It has been exciting working with such a broad spectrum of commercial customers and we were very encouraged by the diversity of the payloads on our first launch.
“It’s been an interesting few years, but once everything was shipped to New Zealand and out of our hands, our fingers have been crossed as the days count down. Faraday-1 is the first of many future Faraday satellites, and these will progress using a range of platforms to further improve the economies of scale, while reducing the cost and time for payloads to reach orbit.”
Airbus Defence and Space UK Managing Director, Richard Franklin, explained: “Our payload hosted on the Faraday-1 satellites is part of our Prometheus programme, testing the next generation retaskable software-defined radio payload. Working with In-Space Missions, we’re able to take advantage of their specialist capabilities and agility to develop new technologies and services for customers. Once Prometheus 1 is proven in orbit, we will use it to de-risk future services and in-life support solutions, working hand-in-hand with our SME partners.”
Graham Peters, Chair of UKspace, added: “The UK space sector is full of dynamic and burgeoning SMEs with great ideas. In-Space Missions is disrupting the norm in providing access to space which has, to date, been costly and mainly prohibitive, especially for smaller organisations. Their tenacity and creativity to demonstrate affordable access will open the door for many space and non-space organisations with an idea to launch their own satellites.”
Doug added: “Prior to completing the satellite, we ran a schools competition to design the mission logo. Our maiden satellite is carrying a plaque inscribed with this mission logo, the names of In-Space team, their families and the schools competition winners. In addition, we’ve included the secret gin recipe from our favourite local distillery, Silent Pool Gin. Not many gin providers can say they’ve been launched into space.”
In-Space Missions has also signed a Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme with the European Space Agency (ESA) worth €10M to develop the Faraday Second Generation capabilities to become a Service Mission Provider (SMP) and fly two microsatellite validation missions in low Earth orbit. The PPP programme is co-funded under the ESA ARTES Pioneer programme, and is part of the Partners Projects.