Oxfordshire-based tech firms Astroscale and Celestia involved in … – The Business Magazine

Two Oxfordshire tech companies have been involved in a £52 million project, which culminated in the recent launch of a beam-hopping satellite, aimed at helping improve broadband internet connectivity from space.

The new satellite, nicknamed ‘JoeySat’ was launched alongside 15 others from California on May 20, and can switch the satellite capacity between different places on Earth up to 1,000 times per second, supporting communication firm OneWeb’s next generation satellite constellation in low Earth orbit.

The satellite will be able to provide services from managing real time surges in commercial demand, to providing broadband on planes, and responding to emergencies, the UK Space Agency said.

READ MORE: Astroscale opens Oxfordshire facility to build space debris removal craft
The ‘JoeySat’ was developed with £52 million funding from the UK Space Agency awarded to UK satellite technology firms through the European Space Agency’s Sunrise programme.

Supporting the wider Sunrise programme, Astroscale, based at the Harwell space cluster in Oxfordshire, was awarded £17.5 million to develop technologies to de-orbit unresponsive satellites.

Meanwhile, Celestia UK, also headquartered at the Harwell campus, received £4.4 million to develop and trial smart ground-station technology using electronically steered antenna to reduce ground network footprint and costs.

Astroscale UK managing director Nick Shave said: “The launch of the highly innovative JoeySat mission is an exciting event for the space sector. With OneWeb’s advanced technology, we’re moving towards a better-connected world underpinned by ubiquitous, real-time satellite communications.”

He said the collaboration with OneWeb, ESA and the UK Space Agency through the Sunrise Programme was enabling Astroscale to develop new services that will keep our orbital highways clear.

“Working together, we are developing world-leading technology to safely remove Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites that have reached the end of their operating lives, ensuring a sustainable operational environment for critical space-based infrastructure.”

Celestia UK CEO Malachy Devlin added: “The solution we have created for the OneWeb constellation, based on a high-performance multi-beam gateway using electronically steered antenna with agile tracking capability, reduced footprint and cost, is ground-breaking in its own right.

“Now, with the technology aligned with the next generation of satellites by OneWeb and supported by the UK Space Agency, we have a commercial solution that helps bring global connectivity one step closer.”

OneWeb, which employs around 400 people in the UK, received around £5 million of the UK Space Agency’s investment, while SatixFy received £25 million to build the digital beam-hopping and beam-steering payload – the ‘brains’ of the satellite.
READ MORE: Satellite servicing and space junk removal innovator Astroscale appoints new managing director


Leave a Comment