This free conference - organised by techUK, the IET and the KTN - will explore new developments, and remaining obstacles, to enabling New Space – both in the Space Segment and the Ground Segment – with speakers representing companies from across the market.
The UK space sector is an exciting high growth, high productivity sector, whose growth outpaces the global average. Globally the space industry is undergoing a revolution (“New Space”) with new technologies enabling new business models, and a transition from being overwhelmingly publicly funded to private, and from principally serving public customers to private ones.
Commercial space activity already comprises about three quarters of the total global space economy, but modern commercial investment models demand with much faster concept to service delivery timelines, and lower cost. This is being achieved with new production techniques, influenced by other sectors, deploying smaller satellites enabled by new technologies, and the widespread adoption of commercial off-the-shelf components (COTS).
This has created a demand for lower cost launch systems, optimised for small satellites (which the UK space sector is disproportionally good at), which has resulted in the UK’s Government’s recent announcement of a location in Scotland for a spaceport for vertical launch.
But cost-effectively designing, building and launching satellites is only part of the New Space challenge – the Ground Segment also needs to be fit for purpose. The requirements for Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT&C) systems may be very different when a small satellite has a value of $1-2 million, and could be replaced relatively quickly, from that supporting a traditional commercial satellite with a value of $100-500 million, which would take years to replace. Additionally user antennas may also look rather different if they are continually having to re-acquire connections from amongst thousands of small satellites in a constellation, each taking about 90 minutes to circle the Earth, by comparison to an antenna focussed on a traditional satellite in a geostationary orbit - plus, if every other element of a constellation has to be (relatively) low cost, these new antennas will have to be too.
The opportunities for getting New Space right are enormous, as lower cost, lower latency, quicker-to-market satellites will open up new commercial applications. But this requires each element to deliver - technically, on time, and to cost.