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Clyde Space wins Outernet contract
by Staff Writers
Glasgow UK (SPX) Mar 17, 2015

File image.

Clyde Space has signed a 1 million pound deal to build three CubeSats for American global broadcast company Outernet Inc in an international partnership deal funded by the UK Space Agency.

Outernet's aim is to make web access free and unrestricted all over the world through space-based telecommunications. As the project develops, Clyde Space hopes to secure business from the New York based company to develop 200 satellites broadcasting the service.

The constellation of CubeSats in low earth orbit would revolutionise the provision of low cost data to remote regions of the world and Clyde Space's expertise will help Outernet advance this unique project to supply an inexpensive alternative to traditional telecommunications infrastructure.

Craig Clark, CEO of Glasgow-based Clyde Space, said: "Outernet is an ambitious and hugely important initiative to bring free information access to the world and we're absolutely thrilled to be involved. The mission itself is a great example of how a spacecraft that is small enough to hold in your hand can provide what I believe will become a vital global service.

"That's not to say the technical challenges of making a satellite this small are insignificant, but our team of spacecraft engineers and technicians are relishing the prospect of producing these spacecraft in the coming months."

The satellites being built by Clyde Space are low-cost 10cm cubed satellites, known as a 1U CubeSat. The project will see Clyde Space pushing the CubeSat capability to offer a near continuous broadcast of data which will be received on hand-held devices such as tablets and smartphones.

Syed Karim, CEO of Outernet, said: "A partnership with CubeSat experts Clyde Space and the UK Space Agency is a very exciting step for Outernet. It not only demonstrates a meeting of the minds on the importance of information access but shows that there can be very concrete economic windfalls from doing enormous good in the world.

"This project is not just about producing test hardware for Outernet to use in advancing our mission, but about refining a process that changes the entire communications industry."

To meet the challenges of the mission, the satellites will use Clyde Space's latest CubeSat products including deployable solar panels, an Attitude Control System to accurately control satellite pointing, next generation power management system and a newly developed on-board computer.

Dr David Parker, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: "The Outernet project is an excellent example of how international collaboration on space programmes can provide new business opportunities to the UK whilst supporting vital areas of global space activity such as telecommunications.

"By combining expertise in space technology we can boost innovation and widely share the considerable economic and social benefits that space can provide."

UKube-1, Scotland's first satellite, was designed and built by Clyde Space in Glasgow and was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, last July.

Clyde Space is a leading producer of small satellite, nanosatellite and CubeSat systems, and is currently producing the most advanced CubeSat ever built for the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-ISAB).

The company is backed by private equity specialists Coralinn LLP, the investment vehicle of leading Scottish entrepreneur Hugh Stewart OBE, and Nevis Capital.

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