The small satellites will be built as part of a new three-year project entitled xSPANCION. The aim is to create a satellite constellation that businesses can use for applications such as satellite-based communications, Earth Observation and remote sensing.
The UK Space Agency through ESA, will co-fund the project with €9.9 million. Several parts of it will benefit from development work financed by Scottish Enterprise.
“xSPANCION will revolutionise our space-as-a-service offering,” said Luis Gomes, chief executive of AAC Clyde Space. “It will allow us to significantly reduce the cost of every message collected, every image captured, supporting those business cases that to date have not been able to justify the capital expenditure to have hundreds of sensors in orbit.”
“Fundamentally, our customers will no longer have to worry about how to access space, they can focus on how to enhance their core business. This project, named xSpancion, will catalyse a new generation of applications not previously possible.”
The project covers design of a satellite platform and production process, manufacturing, licensing, and launch co-ordination – said the company – as well as the development of new technologies for the future constellation, such as for propulsion, intersatellite links, safe and secure transmission of data and a customer interface.
It will see the company team up with the University of Strathclyde, the Satellite Applications Catapult, Bright Ascension and D-Orbit UK to design and launch the 10 satellites.
The money to develop the constellation comes from the ESA Pioneer Partnership Projects programme which aims to support businesses in taking up new technologies and services in space.
AAC Clyde Space specialises in providing advanced small spacecraft, mission services, and spacecraft solutions for government, commercial, and educational organisations for space-based applications.
Back in September, Four Spire nanosatellites, also backed by the UK Space Agency (UKSA), successfully launched via a Soyuz rocket yesterday.
The Glasgow-built nanosatellites joined a fleet in low Earth orbit that monitor shipping movements, helping predict global trade movements.
Two of the Spire nanosatellites have an onboard what the UKSA calls a “supercomputer” which is intended to provide very accurate predictions of the locations of boats, track their whereabouts and calculate their arrival times at ports. This will, it says, enable port businesses and authorities to manage busy docks safely.