The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) have awarded a £9.5 million contract to In-Space Missions Ltd for the build of the Titania satellite, which will undertake research on the next-generation of communications technology, according to a news release.
To be launched in 2023 and approximately the size of a washing machine, the satellite will support the ‘Titania Operational Concept Demonstrator’ which is exploring the military utility of Low Earth Orbit direct-to-earth free-space optical communications (FSOC).
“As modern battlespace technology requires increasingly high bandwidth, FSOC has the potential to transform military communications with its ability to transfer large volumes of data, with a low risk of detection or interception.
The technology works by transmitting the data at high speeds via narrow laser beam between two very specific points. In this case Titania will communicate with ‘Puck’, Dstl’s new Optical Ground Station – carrying on the tradition of the UK naming space projects and satellites after Shakespearian characters.”
Dstl’s space programme manager, Dr Mike O’Callaghan was quoted as saying:
“The Titania space mission will accelerate the development and adoption of space-based optical communications, allowing our Armed Forces the ability to operate in an increasingly contested environment.
The Titania satellite will support the UK space sector and provide a solid foundation on which to conduct experimentation into FSOC and allow the science to be developed. We are delighted to be working with In-Space Missions on this highly innovative project.”