PARIS (ESA PR) — Companies with small satellites are set to benefit from a new end-to-end space transportation service offering additional in-orbit flexibility proposed by D-Orbit and supported through ESA’s Boost! programme.
This commercial service proposal is the first within ESA’s Boost! programme to enable in-orbit transportation services.
D-Orbit UK will offer an end-to-end service. This will include customer payload integration on its range of satellite dispensers, D-Orbit’s own ION satellite carrier or third-party dispensers, launch and deployment into orbit using primarily UK-based launch services.
D-Orbit’s ION Satellite Carrier is a flexible in-orbit transportation system for CubeSats and microsatellites. It can accurately place payloads where they need to be in orbit thanks to its inbuilt orbital propulsion system.
This service project will increase opportunities for small payloads and satellite constellations to access space and will foster new partnerships in the UK and around Europe.
ESA’s Boost! contract with D-Orbit nurtures a new commercial space transportation service and enriches launch opportunities tailored to the thriving small satellites market. This will stimulate the European economy and space commercialisation, in line with ESA’s Agenda 2025.
D-Orbit will establish its satellite assembly, integration and testing facility at Spaceport Cornwall Centre for Space Technologies, while working with a wide range of launch service providers operating from the UK, including Virgin Orbit and Skyrora, but also plans to collaborate with other operators launching from other spaceports in Europe.
In particular, D-Orbit is creating close ties with the Atlantic Spaceport Consortium (ASC) in the service project supported through this Boost! contract. The objective is to demonstrate operational feasibility. This, in turn, can contribute to further developing the space ecosystem on the island of Santa Maria, the Azores, Portugal.
“We aim to exploit the D-Orbit group’s unique position in the value chain and develop a suite of small satellite focused value-added services, to actively drive business towards these new market players – this is the opportunity for the UK business” explained Chris Brunskill, Head of Programmes at D-Orbit UK. “ESA’s support through its Boost! programme is a critical enabler and catalyst in realising this vision in a timely manner.”
Boost! – ESA’s Commercial Space Transportation Services and support to Member States programme provides co-funding, tailored expert advice and the use of testing facilities to help European economic entities to develop and prepare new space transportation services. Such services can offer access to space, in-orbit activities, or return to Earth.