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Space Mission UK is an exciting series of entrepreneur missions specifically designed to support UK startups with their ambition to build world-leading space and satellite application companies. It’s supported by Innovate UK, UK Trade & Investment and produced by Chinwag.
The first mission took place 8-14 August 2015 visiting the Small Sat Conference in Utah, followed by a packed programme in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.
SPACE MISSION 2015 IS AN EXCITING
NEW PROGRAMME OF ENTREPRENEURS’
MISSIONS FOR THE UK’S LEADING SPACE
AND SATELLITE APPLICATION STARTUPS.
THESE MISSIONS, SUPPORTED BY INNOVATE
UK AND UK TRADE & INVESTMENT WILL SEE
TWO GROUPS VISIT THE USA IN 2015.
This first mission, visiting Utah, LA and Silicon Valley from
8-14 August 2015, is specifically designed for the UK’s leading
entrepreneurs in the space & nanosatellite applications sector to
interact with worldleading investors and potential collaborators. It
will visit leading companies such as Virgin Galactic and Lockheed
Martin, as well as NASA.
The second mission, scheduled for Fall 2015, will focus on the wide
sector including satellite applications.
The missions are designed to help the companies build relationships
with the leading players in the US space and satellite sector including
government, corporates, investors, startups and scientists through
meetings, company visits, networking events and briefings.
More info http://spacemissionuk.org
Introduction to Space Mission UK
Innovate UK is the new name for the Technology Strategy Board
– the UK’s innovation agency. Taking a new idea to market is a
challenge. Innovate UK funds, supports and connects innovative
businesses through a unique mix of people and programmes to
accelerate sustainable economic growth.
For further information visit www.innovateuk.gov.uk
Innovate UK supports key events known as entrepreneur ‘missions’
run in partnership with UK Trade and Investment. Missions involve
the pick of innovative and often earlystage UK companies in Innovate
UK priority areas or themes including digital, healthcare or clean
technology travelling to countries strong in innovation and enterprise,
such as the US, China and Brazil. While there the companies have
the opportunity to make new connections and meet potential investors,
suppliers and customers and grow their business internationally.
About Innovate UK
Space Mission 2015 will focus on nanosatellites, cubesats and their
applications. These types of satellite are increasingly important and
broaden the commercial opportunity presented by space.
The UK has a wide range of startups leading this charge.
● A cubesat is a miniaturised satellite, typically in the order of a
kilogramme, that can be produced using commercial offthe
shelf components and launched at a fraction of the cost of a
● Their low cost allows large numbers of them to be brought
into operation, opening up new opportunities for satellite
applications including nearreal time imaging.
● Originally introduced for space research, placing satellites
within reach of universities rather than governments, cubesats
are increasingly being considered for mainstream commercial
applications alongside their larger cousins.
● Cubesats are a standardised subset of nanosatellites;
whereas nanosatellites are a generic class of small satellites
with between 1 and 10kg mass, cubesats are a specific
1litre volume, 10cm cube with typical mass of 1kg – the
standardisation of the cubesat allows for a standard way of
● The main reason for miniaturizing satellites is to reduce
the cost of deployment and are often suitable for launch in
multiples, using the excess capacity of larger launch vehicles.
● The CubeSat design specifically minimises risk to
the rest of the launch vehicle and payloads.
Space & satellite apps sector
Alba Orbital Ltd (PocketQube Shop)
Alba Orbital Ltd (PocketQube Shop) based in Glasgow,
Scotland, wants to get more people building and launching
their own satellites. The company provides a hub for
PocketQube satellites by offering a onestopshop with the
largest selection of parts available anywhere. It aims to provide
for small budget organizations and amateurs who wish to be
part of the “DIY space race”. The satellite costs about the same
price as a car with a starting price of £20,000. These minuscule
satellites can carry programmes such as tracking of birds or
measuring Earth’s magnetic field.
To launch the satellites, these can be hitched onto another
rocket where there is space for an extra satellite. Alba Orbital
Ltd serves as a point of contact between PocketQube builders
and aerospace companies. So far, 4 PocketQube satellites
have been launched in 2013, from Russia on a Dnepr1 rocket.
One of them is Wren. Operated by a German startup named
STAKIDO, this miniaturized satellite weighting 0.25 kg is
equipped with a camera system to photograph the Earth, the
Sun and deep space objects. The next launch is scheduled
for the second semester of 2016 with the rocket UniSat7. It
is operated by G.A.U.S.S. who is currently looking for other
CubeSats to include in the satellite.
Funding was accessed first through the crowd funding website
Kickstarter on which it exceeded its $5,000 target in a few
hours. In October 2014, it won the SMART award by Scottish
Enterprise with a £84,000 funding which contributed towards
developing a first commercially available Electrical Power
System (EPS) for PocketQube class Satellites. The startup is
expanding the product line to cover the full range of offtheshelf
parts necessary to build nanosats.
CNN named the company in its ‘Going Global in 2015: 10 start
ups to watch’ list. It was also named in the ’20 innovations for
2015’ list by the Guardian.
Mission company profiles:
Arralis designs and manufactures the world’s best performing
high frequency semiconductor chips up to and beyond ultra
fast 110GHz. These are being used in the next generation
of aerospace and security products where high speed and
reliability is vital.
Arralis’ technology enables ultrahigh speed and high resolution
radar. This is essential in many different applications. Just
one example of its importance is its use onboard low flying
helicopters, which frequently need to be able to see and
avoid buildings, power lines and weather systems such
as dust storms. Arralis’ semiconductor chips enable high
speed and high resolution radar to spot these, before they
become a risk to the helicopter. Arralis has developed world
leading expertise in radio frequency, micro and millimetre
wave technology. Arralis’ products, which are the ultimate in
precision and innovation, are used in both global and space
environments where accuracy and reliability are critical. Arralis’
semiconductor chips ensure better data transmission speeds
to and from satellites than any other provider in the world.
In just one example of its work, Arralis developed a 94GHz
radar system for the European Space Agency. There are many
threats to the success of a space mission; launching and
landing the spacecraft carry the highest rate of failure during
the mission. This radar system is a particularly innovative
technology in that it is capable of recognising small objects
such as rocks. The radar identifies zones of danger where
landing the spacecraft would most likely fail or damage the
structure. Similarly, the precision of this instrument is of vital
importance when in space because of the amount of debris
orbiting the planet.
Bird.i aims to deliver Earth Observation (EO) data to the mass
market; making Earth observation ‘social’.
Maps and Earth Observation imagery have increasing
importance to our daily lives and global economy. There is
an incredible growth in the quantity of Earth imagery which
enables highly accurate observation of largescale events. This
has useful applications in all walks of life: from those attending
festivals to those who are looking for high resolution images
for humanitarian reasons. However, often mapping and Earth
Observation imagery are prohibitively expensive and beyond
the reach of the everyday person. Although there are mapping
services that provide information, often, these satellite images
are outdated and not ‘live’. Imagine taking a real time selfie
from space. Bird.i enables this.
Traditional data provision models have relied on disseminating
low volume, high cost images to high value customers. In this
model, only a fraction of the wider audience of individuals and
businesses can derive value from this information. Bird.i aims
to make fresh and quality observations available to a wide
range of consumers. This will exploit captive markets, such as
online travel or estate agencies, and the wider wealth of online,
real time georeferenced data.
Earth Observation is also a powerful tool to provide high
revisit coverage of specific regions. Data about our planet
gathered from space finds wide ranges of applications, such
as air pollution measurements, natural disaster predictions
and consequences as well as the pace of deforestation. It can
measure the entirety of human impact on Earth. The business
model relies on determining locations of high demand,
acquiring relevant imagery from multiple data sources and
delivering the results directly to customers. The aim is to
acquire and sell only the pixels that matter, maximising their
value by selling them multiple times.
Bright Ascension started in 2011 to offer a fresh and innovative
approach to engineering research and development in the
space industry and other high technology areas. Bright
Ascension offers onboard and ground software for satellite
missions that is affordable and reliable.
Drawing upon the founder’s experience, the company is able to
offer offtheshelf products which can be tailored to the needs of
a particular mission. The startup also provides Mission control
software, the interface between on the ground operators and
Bright Ascension is different from other companies in the satellite
software space in that it is highly agile: it provides a software
product that allows its customers to build upon an established
software framework and then customise as they need. This
saves time and money and is putting the power of nanosatellites
and CubeSats in the hands of people and organisations that
would not have been able to launch their own satellite ten years
ago. This is opening up exciting new scientific, commercial and
educational applications to universities, research institutions and
innovative Space startups.
Bright Ascension also works with the Outernet nonprofit
organisation, which is helping millions of people in the
developing world receive information through satellites. This
information ranges from weather forecasts to the price of
commodities. It is particularly helpful for farmers in rural and
Bright Ascension developed the on board software for UKube1,
a nanosatellite launched on the 8th of July 2014, as part of
the UK CubeSat programme. This CubeSat, which is about
the size of a loaf of bread, includes six different experiments
such as science instruments, amateur radio, technology
demonstration and outreach. One of the experiments was a
school engagement programme where students were able to
connect with the satellite as it passed overhead.
Gyana is a space technology company. The company uses
machine learning to make Big Data analysis available to
everyone, during their everyday lives. It has created a broad
range of technologies that use deep mathematical analysis
models and machine learning techniques combined with space
technologies to enable real time big data to help users assess
the world around them. The machine learning techniques are
absolutely cutting edge and one of their kind in the world. Gyana
uses its own in-house mathematical research to create these
For example, this means it allows users to get a sense of
what an area is like and learns from their mood whether it will
suit them. For instance, if a user was in the mood to go out in
London it would tell them how busy Covent Garden is compared
with other areas of London. It would also provide insight on
transport infrastructure, crime rates and other interesting trends.
Gyana has developed a unique system that helps sonify large
sets of data. The company conducted psychological research
that shows people respond better to sounds and imagery,
rather than text. Therefore uniquely, the app communicates
with its user through the use of sounds and imagery to
Founded by Joyeeta Das and Mark Gilbert, the team counts
three post doctorates and four Masters students from Oxford
University among its founding staff. The team consists of some
of the brightest mathematical minds at Oxford University.
Gyana was born in 2014 with an Oxford University summer
accelerator program. Joyeeta Das is an active and successful
entrepreneur, currently a core committee member of Oxford
Business Network where she acts as Head of Business
This NGO gathers scientists, artists, politicians, dancers,
engineers to create projects with an innovative approach to
social causes. She was featured by The Times as “Young
Achievers in India”. She also received several awards for her
work with Cisco, such as outstanding performance or Best
Organisation Culture Impact.
Mars Space Ltd
Mars Space Ltd (MSL) is a SME formed in 2007 and based in
Southampton. The company’s main area of expertise lies in
space electric propulsion. Space propulsion is the technology
behind the movement of spacecraft. Space electric propulsion
came in to compensate the physical limitations of chemical
MSL was born as a spinoff company from the University of
Southampton (UoS). The entire staff of MSL holds a doctorate
and is composed mostly of current and former UoS staff
members/students. At present Mars Space Ltd has a turnover
of about £400,000 and a total of 5 full time employees.
MSL has over 100 years of experience in the field of space
propulsion, through the cumulated work of its directors and
Since its incorporation MSL has been involved in several
R&D activities carrying out the design, manufacture, testing,
modelling and qualification of several electric propulsion
devices covering power levels ranging from 2W to 50kW.
MSL has acquired its own premises in 2011 and has now a
fully equipped propulsion laboratory with all the necessary
diagnostic to directly verify the performance of various
The company notably developed the first pulsed plasma
thruster for Cubesat application, PPTCUP.
Oxford Space Systems
Oxford Space Systems is set on becoming the leading
supplier of deployable space structures globally. The future
for space missions relies on the capacity of industry players to
develop space structures which can be efficiently packaged
in the launch vehicle and deploy once inorbit. Development
collaboration contracts are under way with Europe’s largest
satellite builders as well as emerging players in the developing
market of smaller and cheaper satellites: micro and cube
Oxford Space Systems designs innovative structures that
are lighter and cheaper. This is achieved by combining new
and traditional materials. Notably, they use energy composite
materials. The great advantage of this type of material is
the capacity to save energy which reduces the weight of the
structure. Lighter structures are critical in dealing with storage
limitations of a launch vehicle. Composite materials are also
corrosion and fatigue resistant as well as more cost effective
than traditional materials. Oxford Space Systems currently
work in three principle areas of development: deployable
panels, flexible composite boom systems and large deployable
Founded by experienced entrepreneur & CEO, Mike Lawton,
the quickly growing Oxford Space Systems team contains
a diverse range of worldclass expertise in the fields of
aerospace, mechanical, electrical, and thermal engineering for
the space environment.
Drawing on conventional wisdom as well fresh thinking, the
OSS team is at the forefront of developments in the new space
Based at the Harwell Space Cluster, OSS has excellent access
to the expertise & facilities of RAL Space, the European Space
Agency, the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the
Satellite Applications Catapult. OSS is backed private equity
and enjoys the support of Innovate UK, ESA and the UK Space
Printech Circuit Laboratories
Printech Circuit Laboratories is a manufacturer of specialist
printed circuit boards. The company prides itself in being able
to manufacture anything that is different. Its products are used
in all market sectors, but especially space applications. Two
recent innovations the company has developed are ‘bump’
selective plating to 250μm and the manufacture of ‘formed’
antennas/ filters that can be intimately placed around a
Printech Circuit Laboratories not only processes established
circuit board materials, but also composites, foams and LCP
Printech Circuit Laboratories have participated to the European
Space Agency (ESA) Gaia mission. The purpose of this
mission is to compile a 3D catalogue of astronomical objects
in our Galaxy, the Milky Way. The mapping of the Galaxy
contributes to a deeper understanding of its constitution
and evolution as well as potentially uncovering unknown
astronomical objects like new planets or constellations.
Data gathered from the Gaia satellite will constitute the most
accurate catalogue of stars ever achieved.
One of Printech Circuit Laboratories partners, E2V, was
contracted to build CDD Detectors for the Gaia spaceship.
CDD detectors are a highly accurate form of camera that
captivate UV, visible and near infra light. Printech Circuit
Laboratories provided specialist flexible circuits which
contributed to the precision and power of the digital camera.
The flexibility was key in compressing the camera design to fit
in a smaller satellite.
Scot Sat Ltd
Scot Sat’s journey to develop, build, market and sell
technologically advanced, affordable, mobile satellite
communication equipment began three years ago. The
company approach revolved around new plastic design and
manufacturing techniques applied to the satellite industry,
advancing the current technology used in maritime and land
mobile satellite communications.
Uniquely, Scot Sat is able to provide ultrahigh speed
communication equipment at a fraction of the cost of traditional
suppliers. This is primarily because it has embraced the 3D
printing revolution. Many of its products are printed using 3D
printers with highly durable materials at a fraction of the price.
This cost saving it passes on to its customers.
With a novel approach to materials design, Scot Sat aims to
deliver cost effective designs that would create a step shift in
equipment pricing which could open up satellite broadband
services to an area of these markets currently not served. The
company is made up of individuals who previously built up a
maritime satellite communications business successfully over
seven years and sold it to a major satellite communications
company (FTSE Listed).
With that depth of knowledge, Scot Sat brings that experience
to the remote equipment design, determined to break ceilings
on maritime and land mobile satellite communications
equipment. With the advent of new High Throughput Ku and
KaBand satellites, the price of capacity has been falling but
not so for the necessary support equipment. This makes
the average packaged cost too high for many customers.
Scot Sat’s new equipment will be priced to allow those who
previously could not afford ultrafast mobile communications to
enjoy the benefits of such technology.
The UK has the most productive research base amongst the
G7 (Group of Seven) and other leading research nations. The
UK accounts for 3.2% of global expenditure on research and
development and has less than 1% of the world’s population,
● 6.4% of global journal articles
● 11.6% citations
● 15.8% of the world’s most highly cited articles
Research and knowledge is increasingly developed and
transferred through international co-operation. This cooperation
provides opportunities to:
● work with the best in the world
● exchange students and researchers
● gain access to large scale international facilities
It encourages new ideas, and new opportunities for innovation
in support of growth.
International cooperation in science and innovation is also vital
for meeting global policy challenges such as:
● climate change
● energy security
● pandemic disease
For these reasons, the Department for Business, Innovation
and Skills and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office jointly
fund the international Science and Innovation Network (SIN).
SIN consists of 90 staff, based in 28 countries and 47 cities
around the world. SIN officers work with the local science
and innovation community in support of UK policy overseas.
They create important relationships to best use the value of
science and innovation discoveries and investments overseas.
This leads to mutual benefits to the UK and the host-country.
Science and innovation play an important role
in encouraging prosperity and growth through
the Science and Innovation Network (SIN).
What SIN does
SIN teams develop country specific action plans and work
to the following global objectives:
● influence science and innovation policies of governments,
industry and academia
● improve UK policy based on international experience
and emerging opportunities
● encourage high level science cooperation to
benefit the UK and achieve wider to benefit
the UK and issues policy objectives
● make best use of international technology
cooperation and investment to grow
UK innovation potential.
How to contact SIN
Email SINManagement at
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI)
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the British government
organisation that helps overseas companies bring high quality
investment to the UK and also helps UK-based companies
succeed in an increasingly global economy. UKTI provides
a range of expert services, individually tailored to maximise
a company’s international success. These services are
offered through a network of international specialists in British
Embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world, as
well as key experts in government departments across the UK.
For more information please visitwww.gov.uk/ukti.
The UK has a thriving space sector with over 230 companies
employing up to 30,000 people, generating a turnover of over
£11bn and growing almost 10% over the last decade. The UK
Space Innovation and Growth Strategy sets a target of growing
the UK space sector to £40bn pa by 2030. Much of this is
expected to come from exports.
UKTI helps the UK space sector to do more business
internationally. We work with the UK Space Agency and
Innovate UK to identify business opportunities and support
companies to build their international strategy and export.
Alongside the UK Space Agency we promote UK space
expertise to the world:
● through the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoys and
UK Embassies and High Commissions
● by working with the Space Leadership
Council (Government and industry) to
identify business opportunities
● developing relationships with international
space companies, manufacturers
Chinwag’s mission is connect digital businesses and their
people. Founded in 1996, round the digital marketing
community, the company now reaches over 30,000 people in
the UK. Chinwag produces numerous events, conference and
trade missions including the Digital Mission series.
Since 2008, Chinwag has run over 20 missions to destinations
across the US and Asia, including the first UK mission of
hardware startups to China and the first Roboticsfocused
mission to California working with Innovate UK, the UK
government’s innovation agency.
Specifically designed to help highlyinnovative, fastgrowing
technology companies expand internationally the missions
have supported over 250 of the world’s leading technology
companies bringing together startups, governments, investors
and multinational corporates.
As well as independent missions, Chinwag has worked with
UK Trade & Investment, Innovate UK, Google Korea and the
Korean Government on international trade events.
Chinwag has also developed the world’s first conference on
applied behaviour science, Chinwag Psych.
Chinwag also provides market entry support for digital firms
entering the UK market as well as event and marketing
consultancy, including the Open Data Institute Annual Summit
series with Sir Tim BernersLee.
Chinwag – http://chinwag.com
Pitch NYC – http://pitchnyc.com
Chinwag Psych – http://psychmatters.co
Saturday, 8th August
● Flights London to Utah // arrive Logan
Sunday, 9th August
Informal Networking & Mission Brief
● Acclimatise, Taggart Student Center Campus accommodation
● 18.00: Welcome drinks & informal networking at Beehive Grill
Monday, 10th August
Working Lunch Jet Propulsion Lab
● 11.00 - 13.00: NASA JPL Working Lunch, University Inn & Conference Centre
JPL grew up with the Space Age and helped bring it into being. It is a place where science, technology, and
engineering intermix in unique ways: to produce iconic robotic space explorers sent to every corner of the
solar system, to peer deep into the Milky Way galaxy and beyond, and to keep a watchful eye on our home
planet. Analyzing the data pouring back from these machine emissaries, scientists around the world continue
to discover how the universe, the solar system, and life formed and evolved.
Aiaa/Usu Small Satellite Conference
● Afternoon: Small Satellite Conference, Taggart Student Center
Truly effective small satellite missions require success across multiple systems. These systems include:
launch, satellite, payload, ground network, mission operations and data analysis. Over the past few decades,
satellite mission and systems developers have made critical advancements in each of these areas. These
advancements have proven the utility of small satellite missions in military, civilian, and commercial endeavors.
The 29th AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites will explore the current state and future possibilities within
the critical systems that support mission success.
● Evening: Small Satellite Conference drinks reception
Tuesday, 11th August
Aiaa/Usu Small Satellite Conference
Small Satellite Conference innovative technologies or fullup systems (hardware/software) for ground networks,
mission operations centers, or science/data analysis centers that significantly advance mission utility.
Evening: Transfer and flights to San Francisco
Wednesday 12th August (Northern California)
Lockheed Martin Company Visit
● 11.00 - 14.00: Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center company visit, Lockheed Martin, Palo Alto
Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 112,000 people
worldwideand is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration
and sustainmentof advanced technology systems, products and services. Delegates will meet with
representatives of the Advanced Technology Center team and the corporate team.
O’reilly Alphatech Ventures VC Roundtable / Pitch
● 15.30 - 17.30: Investment meeting O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, San Francisco
O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV) is in the business of funding disruptors, innovators, and hackers of the
status quo. Along with their partner, O’Reilly Media, they invest in the “alpha geeks” who explore technology
for the fun of it. These relationships drive their investment themes at OATV, spanning data, Makers, the new
networks of things, quantified self and the industrial internet. They are both excited and privileged to help
entrepreneurs take the world from where it is today to where it should be tomorrow. OATV’s portfolio includes
groundbreaking satellite application, Planet Labs.
Evening: Transfer and flights to LA
Thursday, 13th August (Southern California)
Usc Space Tech Briefing & Roundtables With Local Space Companies
● 10.00 - 14.00: University of Southern California Working Lunch, Marina Del Rey, LA
Chaired by Professor David Barnhart, Director, Space Technology and Systems Group Research Professor,
Department of Astronautical Engineering (ISI), this session will focus on International Traffic in Arms
Regulations (ITAR) presented by Ministry of Defence (MOD), collaboration between US and UK businesses
and challenges faced to make this happen.
Space Angels Pitch Event
● 16.00 - 18.00: Space Angels Network Investment Focus Space Angels Network is an angel investing
network which connects investors and entrepreneurs to encourage private investment in commercial space,
aerospace, and aviation startups. Its members typically invest between US$250,000 and US$1,000,000 in
earlystage companies which are not yet ready for venture capital.
● 18.00 - 21.30: Networking Reception Space Mission & invited guests, Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
Friday 14th August
Virgin Galactic Company Visit
● 10.00 - 13.30: Company Visit Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic is comprised of hundreds of dedicated and passionate professionals — including rocket
scientists, engineers, and designers from around the world — united in creating something new and lasting:
the world’s first commercial spaceline. A spaceline for Earth. Our team brings decades of experience from
organizations like NASA, traditional aerospace firms, and other Virgin companies. We are here because we
believe we are at the vanguard of a new space industry that is defining the future of exploration and that we
will ultimately make space accessible to more people and for more purposes than ever before. It is a large and
difficult undertaking; but through our efforts, we believe we can help inspire future generations and make it
possible to see the beautiful planet we call home from a new perspective.
● PM: Return to UK
North Star House, North Star Avenue
Swindon, Wiltshire SN2 1UE
Innovate UK switchboard 01793 442700