Open Cosmos unveils OpenConstellation, shared space infrastructure

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PARIS – British small satellite startup Open Cosmos announced plans Sept. 21 for OpenConstellation, shared space infrastructure that offers partners access to satellite data.

At the International Astronautical Congress here, Open Cosmos invited countries, institutions or companies around the world to contribute their satellites to OpenConstellation. Eventually, Open Cosmos hopes OpenConstellation expands to include 25 satellites with sensors offering varying spatial and spectral resolutions.

In return for contributing satellites, OpenConstellation partners gain access to data over their areas of interest. The goal is to give businesses, nonprofits, national and regional governments that may not have the resources individually to establish multifaceted Earth-observation constellations access to “insightful, actionable data from space for the first time while keeping high levels of governance and security,” according to the news release.

Space organizations from the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal are among the partners who have made commitments for the first six OpenConstellation satellites. The first launch is scheduled for November.

“The main challenges the world faces today are global and satellites naturally provide that global perspective we need to make the right decisions,” said Rafel Jorda Siquier, Open Cosmos founder and CEO. “The key objective of OpenConstellation is to make necessary data and information from space more accessible.”

The shared infrastructure is designed to strike a balance between what organizations or governments can afford and the performance they need, Siquier added.

The first six OpenConstellation satellites are all being built by Open Cosmos. They include Open Cosmos’ multispectral 12-unit cubesat and the company’s 6U cubesats, which provides data in 32 spectral bands with a resolution of 4.95 meters per pixel. The OpenConstellation infrastructure will be managed by Open Cosmos’ ground operations staff.

“Additional satellites with higher resolution and covering other bands of the spectrum are planned to be added in a second phase,” the news release added.