With the confirmation of space port construction backed by UK government funding, all eyes are firmly on the skies.
In-Space Missions, based in Alton, Hampshire, is one of the companies playing a part in accelerating the UK’s space ambitions. Melanie Clift, In-Space Missions’ head of sales and business development, explained how the company was helping clients: “We’re a small company, we design, build and operate bespoke customer missions, so we will build a spacecraft for a customer or we operate a payload rideshare, where we’ll have multiple customers with payloads on one of our satellites.”
“What this means is that the customer doesn’t need to worry about everything that goes around their particular payload, we do all that for them, they can get into orbit quicker, get their technology demonstrated quicker.”
The approach may be new, but Clift said the company was helped by the experience of its staff. “I think when we added up the experience that it got into the centuries across the board. We’re a small company, so it’s that mixture of the agility – we can move quicker but we have the experience behind us. You put those together and that’s quite a powerful offering, I think. We can take the worry out of everything around the spacecraft for the customer.”
Projects can be in orbit in six months
The commercial space sector is developing rapidly and customers no longer have to wait years to get their projects into orbit. Clift said In-Space Missions could offer a timeframe of six to 12 months from project conception to orbit. She explained: “We work across multiple different types of payloads. So not just one thing, we can work across multiple different things and what we will be rolling out in the next year or so is something called Faraday Digital. Our current series of satellites are called the Faraday Physical, so it’s an actual physical payload on board. Our next one leaves the building on Thursday and will launch at the end of June on a Falcon Nine from the States.”
“We hope, in the coming year or so, to have a Faraday Digital, so the customer can upload their payload into space, or change whatever is up there to a different frequency, perhaps. Not to oversell that, we would still need certain things in place, such as getting the frequency filings in advance, but that’s where we’re heading longer term.”
UK spaceports will be “amazing” opportunity
Clift said the UK government’s backing of space industry will make a huge difference to both In-Space Missions and its customers. Currently the company has to transport its spacecraft to Heathrow for launch in the US.
Clift said: “It would be amazing to pack it in the back of a truck and drive it to whichever part of the UK, the spaceport is at. It would be amazing from our perspective and much shorter chain to work our way through, it would be brilliant!”
In-Space Missions will be exhibiting at Space-Comm Expo taking place at the Farnborough International Conference and Exhibition Centre on July 7-8. CEO Doug Liddle will also be taking part in two of the plenary sessions.
Clift added: “We’ll have a stand in H3. Fingers crossed, we’ll have a 3D printed model of the Faraday spacecraft that will have been in orbit for a month, all going to plan and we’ll have the team there, ready and happy to talk to people.”
“I’m delighted to be there in person, all going to plan. I think it’s the first, back in person event on the UK scene so we’re really, really looking forward to it!”