In-Space Missions have completed the final assembly and testing of the two Prometheus-2 cubesats at our cleanrooms in Alton, Hampshire and they have just been delivered to Spaceport Cornwall for integration to Virgin Orbit’s Launcher One rocket.

Virgin Orbit’s StartMeUp launch will be the UK’s first ever satellite launch when Cosmic Girl, a modified Boeing 747, takes off from the runway at Spaceport Cornwall carrying the LauncherOne rocket. Cosmic Girl will fly out over the ocean before blasting the rocket into space, delivering its manifest of small satellites into low earth orbit.

Doug Liddle, Chief Executive Officer of In-Space Missions said “The whole In-Space team is really buzzing about the StartMeUp launch – this will be a big moment for the UK and we are very proud to be involved. Launch day is going to be momentous, and we can’t wait!”

Ed Stevens, Chief Engineer at In-Space Missions, said “This has been an exciting mission to work on for our team.  The combination of so many, very capable payloads on each spacecraft has proven to be an enjoyable challenge. The teamwork and collaborative approach we’ve shared with our customers has been brilliant and particularly highlighted in the intense period of testing that always precedes taking spacecraft to launch site.” 

The Prometheus-2 cubesats, which are each the size of a cereal box, have been designed jointly with Airbus Defence and Space in Portsmouth and are owned by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MOD).  The two small satellites, which measure just 30cm X 20cm X 10cm, will provide a test platform for sophisticated imaging, and monitoring radio signals including GPS, paving the way for a more collaborative and connected space communication system with the UK’s combat allies.

The Prometheus-2 cubesats each have separate equipment installed to test future concepts in support of the MOD’s ISTARI programme for future space-based intelligence and surveillance.  After being released in Low Earth Orbit the satellites will deploy solar arrays to provide power for the mission, which is expected to last for up to three years.

We have worked closely with engineers and project managers from Dstl and Airbus during the design, build and test of these two cubesats – it’s been a very collaborative project which will continue with commissioning and in-orbit operations.

The countdown to Launch has begun!  Follow us on Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram for updates.
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