The UK is aiming to join Portugal and Spain in contributing to the data-sharing network, which aims to support disaster relief, provide early detection of climate change indicators, increase agricultural productivity and improve energy use.
The pathfinder satellite - with £3m in support from the UK Space Agency - will be built by Open Cosmos at its headquarters at Harwell Space Campus, Oxfordshire, using the same design as three of the Portuguese satellites. The four satellites will be launched in the same orbital plane, constituting the first batch of the constellation.
The UK satellite will increase the frequency of revisit time by 33 per cent at the beginning of the constellation formation, offering regularly updated data, and supporting services such as the detection, monitoring and mitigation of natural disasters.
According to Open Cosmos, the data access and provision policies for members of the Atlantic Constellation will shortly be established. During the first year of operations, UK users are expected to be able to task the satellite over an area of interest and benefit from higher-frequency data and shorter revisit times over the UK.
This new commitment will further strengthen the UK’s national capabilities in Earth observation (EO) technology and complement the UK’s contributions to the EU Copernicus programme, European Space Agency and bilateral missions.
In a statement, Rafael Jorda Siquier, chief executive of Open Cosmos, said: “Building a shared satellite constellation is a very effective way of having high revisit diverse data over each region of interest. The UK 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 UK pathfinder satellite.”
Open Cosmos recently added a further two satellite missions to its OpenConstellation, which launched on 11 November, 2023 and recently raised $50m in Series B funding.
Today’s announcement was made on the opening day of the UK Space Conference that is being held in Belfast and runs until November 23, 2023.