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UK Joins Portugal and Spain in Atlantic Constellation

Open Cosmos to build UK Pathfinder satellite. Credit: Open Cosmos

Ibadan, 28 November 2023. – The UK is looking to join Portugal and Spain as a member of the Atlantic Constellation and is contributing a new pathfinder satellite designed and built by Open Cosmos, adding to the innovative Earth and coastal monitoring and data sharing network. This new commitment will consequently strengthen the UK’s national capabilities in Earth observation technology and complement the UK’s contributions to the EU Copernicus program, European Space Agency and bilateral missions.

The UK Space Agency will provide £3 million to support the building of the new Pathfinder satellite, which will be one of the first in the constellation. Furthermore, Open Cosmos will be co-funding the new satellite’s build, based on the Harwell Space Campus in Oxfordshire. The Atlantic Constellation is a flagship global project for the development of a constellation of small satellites for Ocean, Earth and Climate monitoring.

The satellite will be of the same design and will launch in the same orbital plane as three others from Portugal, constituting the first batch of the constellation. As a result, it will significantly increase the frequency of revisit time at the beginning of the Constellation formation, offering valuable and regularly updated data, and supporting critical services such as the detection, monitoring and mitigation of natural disasters.

Speaking on the plans, 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”. He also added, “The UK joining Portugal and Spain in the Atlantic Constellation is a significant step forward in the national EO strategy, and we are very proud that Open Cosmos got the contract to deliver the first UK Pathfinder satellite.

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