Aerospace and defence company QinetiQ has won a new contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) to deliver and operate a new satellite that will support technological innovation, de-risking, and concept testing for public agencies and commercial enterprises in Europe.
This award is part of the EU Horizon 2020 in-orbit demonstration/validation (IOD/IOV) initiative, which aims to provide organisations with new opportunities to capitalise on affordable access to space. The new satellite will feature the latest generation of QinetiQ’s PROBA platform. The P200 platform has been developed to provide flexibility, which the company said is demonstrated by previous PROBA missions carrying up to 28 payloads. It is compatible with a wide range of launch rockets and has simple electrical interfaces, standard protocols, and optional specifications for a diverse array of payloads. Up to 13 different IOD/IOV experiments will be on-board this new satellite.
The P200 platform features improved operational performance from new avionics and propulsion systems, and on-board autonomy greatly reduces operational costs.
Development and systems integration for this new satellite will capitalise on QinetiQ’s dedicated new cleanroom facilities at Kruibeke in Belgium. A ground control system will also be installed in the premises and will provide continuous management and monitoring.
Jim Graham, Managing Director of QinetiQ’s space business, said: “We’re delighted to be working on such an important mission for so many organisations at the cutting edge of space technology. The new satellite funded by the European Union will play a catalytic role in helping to bring exciting and significant new innovations to market and maximising European progress and competitiveness in the burgeoning space sector. It is particularly pleasing to be working on a programme that will open yet another chapter in the long and impressive in-orbit testing heritage of our PROBA satellite platforms and will also capitalise fully on our recent investment in new production facilities.”