QinetiQ to supply European satellite for testing space technologies

Aerospace and defense company QinetiQ is to build and operate a satellite for the European Space Agency (ESA) for testing and de-risking new space technologies.

The EU Horizon 2020’s IOD/IOV (In-Orbit Demonstration and Validation) program will provide affordable access to space demonstration and validation for new space technologies and capabilities. It aims to support technological innovation, de-risking and concept testing for public agencies and commercial enterprises in Europe. 

The satellite will feature the latest generation of QinetiQ’s PROBA platform, the P200, which can carry up to 28 payloads and is compatible with a range of launch rockets. It also has simple electrical interfaces, standard protocols and optional specifications for a diverse array of payloads.

Up to 13 different IOD/IOV experiments will be on-board of the satellite.

Development and systems integration for the satellite will be conducted at QinetiQ’s new cleanroom facilities at Kruibeke, Belgium. A ground control system will also be installed in the premises and will provide continuous management and monitoring of the satellite.

Frank Preud’homme, business development director of QinetiQ’s space business said, “The new satellite funded by the European Union will play a catalytic role in helping to bring exciting and significant new innovations to market and maximising European progress and competitiveness in the burgeoning space sector. It is particularly pleasing to be working on a programme that will open yet another chapter in the long and impressive in-orbit testing heritage of our PROBA satellite platforms and will also capitalise fully on our recent investment in new production facilities.”

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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