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UK Looks to Join the Atlantic Constellation with Open Cosmos Satellite

By Mark Holmes | November 21, 2023

Photo: Open Cosmos

The U.K. government has announced a new initiative in the Earth observation (EO) as it looks to join Portugal and Spain as a member of the Atlantic Constellation. The Atlantic Constellation is a flagship, global project for the development of a constellation of small satellites for Ocean, Earth and Climate monitoring. The U.K. announced the move on Nov. 21.

The UK Space Agency is providing 3 million pounds ($3.75 million) to support a pathfinder satellite, intended to be one of the first in the constellation, with co-funding from Open Cosmos, based on the Harwell Space Campus in Oxfordshire.  The commitment was announced on the opening day of the UK Space Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

“Earth observation will play an absolutely vital role in tackling global challenges like climate change and disaster relief, providing the data we need at speed, while supporting key U.K. industries like agriculture and energy. By working with Open Cosmos on a new satellite and supporting our Atlantic partners, Spain and Portugal, we can harness space tech for our shared goals, while creating new skills opportunities and jobs for the future to grow the U.K. economy,” Andrew Griffith, the UK Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said in a statement.

The satellite built by Open Cosmos will have the same design and be launched in the same orbital plane as three others from Portugal in the first batch of the constellation.

“Building a shared satellite constellation is a very effective way of having high revisit diverse data over each region of interest. The U.K. aiming to join Portugal and Spain in the Atlantic Constellation is a major step forward in the national EO strategy and we are very proud that Open Cosmos has been contracted to deliver the first U.K. pathfinder satellite,” commented Open Cosmos CEO Rafael Jorda Siquier.