A RHEA Group research satellite, built in Oxfordshire by space company Open Cosmos, it will share a journey with five additional satellite missions, including the first-ever satellite to be built in Wales.
Dubbed ‘DOVER’, this pathfinder satellite transmits a signal, designed by RHEA engineers, to provide data from space that can be used on the ground to obtain an accurate position or time.
This latest satellite completes the UK’s first launch lineup, which also includes satellites from organizations such as Space Forge, Satellite Applications Catapult and Horizon Technologies, as well as the Prometheus-2 research demonstration satellites.
Prometheus-2 was co-funded and designed with Airbus Defense and Space and assembled by In-Space Missions, in a collaboration between the UK’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and international partners including the US National Recognition Office.
“It’s fantastic to have RHEA Group’s DOVER satellite join the launch, which showcases both our domestic expertise in satellite manufacturing and the international interest in the UK as a launch destination. “, said Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency.
“The ability to launch satellites from UK soil will support our work to catalyze investment in the space sector, deliver new capabilities and champion the incredible role of space in benefiting life on Earth.”
The success of a recent Virgin Orbit mission brought the first UK launch of these satellites closer.
On Saturday, July 2, Virgin Orbit successfully completed its fourth satellite delivery mission, which was a nighttime launch from Mojave, California via Cosmic Girl, a modified Boeing 747.
This was seen as a preliminary step ahead of the company’s planned launch from Spaceport Cornwall.
However, no exact date has yet been confirmed. Originally, a summer launch was planned from Newquay Spaceport, but it is now promised for “later this year”.
Image: UK Space Pavilion at the Farnborough International Airshow – Left to right Rebecca Evernden, Director of Space at BEIS, Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, British ESA astronaut Tim Peake and Lord Willetts, President of the British Space Agency
See also: Spaceport Cornwall will host the UK’s first satellite launch this summer