Space missions, Horizon prepares to launch Britain's first satellite


Already in payload for the UK's imminent first space launch is a satellite from Britain's Catapult and Horizon Technologies satellite programmes, IOD-3 Amber (see below).


Prometheus-2 cubesats – measuring 30 cm X 20 cm X 10 cm – were developed jointly with Airbus Defense and Space in Portsmouth. They belong to the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on behalf of the Ministry of Defense (MoD). The two satellites will provide a test platform for acquiring images of the Earth and monitoring radio signals, including GPS.

The photo on the right shows the In-Space team after the final testing of cubesats at the company&# 8217; clean rooms in Alton, Hampshire.

"This was an exciting challenge for our team," Ed Stevens, chief engineer of In-Space Missions. "Combining so many very powerful payloads on each spacecraft turned out to be a nice challenge."

"The teamwork and collaborative approach we shared with our customers was brilliant and especially highlighted during the intense testing period that always precedes the delivery of a spacecraft to the launch pad."

IOD-3 Amber

IOD-3 Amber was designed by Satellite Applications Catapult and Horizon Technologies and built by AAC Clyde Space. The latter acquired Glasgow-based Clyde Space in 2019 for $35.3 million, and Glasgow is their main satellite manufacturing hub.

The satellite has already been successfully integrated into Virgin Orbit's launch system, ready for the Start Me Up mission, which is due to launch from Cornwall in the first half of November, pending regulatory approval.

Her testing is pictured above.

It will be the first of more than twenty in the Horizon Amber group, which aims to provide governments and other clients with information to combat illegal fishing, smuggling, human trafficking, piracy and terrorism.

"This launch sets a precedent for the future of the UK space industry and highlights the UK's strengths in developing complex small satellite missions as outlined in the National Space Strategy" Luis Gomez, CEO of AAC Clyde Space.

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