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Multi-Payload satellite as an innovative service for technology experimentation in space

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MPSAT (Multi-Payload satellite as an innovative service for technology experimentation in space)

Reporting period: 2014-10-01 to 2015-03-31

The action describes the business model of an innovative service that evaluates space standardized payloads in flight. This service has been commercially named “Test in Space”, and offers dedicated slots in CubeSat-based platforms to accommodate payloads of different customers using standardized interphases, fully managing the space missions and including all the steps to place the payloads in orbit to perform experiments. This service has been destined to entire community of developers of new products and technologies, not only to entities involved in the space sector.
The main objective has been the development of a commercial business plan to evaluate its feasibility, including market analysis, competitors and potential customers study, service description, marketing plan, commercial actions, regulatory issues, stakeholders and risk analysis.
The feasibility study has analysed and developed the topics established in the description of work, highlighting the previous experience and know-how obtained in the space sector. The market analysis performed has shown the exponential growth in the technology demonstration market, where customer segments are now totally identified. Analysis of direct and indirect competitors has led to the identification of business features to strengthen, and feedback from potential customers has shown the most demanding technologies for in-orbit testing. Test in Space service has been defined, and a set of documents establishing technical, commercial, legal and management procedures have been developed. In this regard, it is important to highlight the development of the Payload Standard as an innovative approach for a fast and easy integration of different payloads in the satellite. An extensive work has been performed on marketing and commercial aspects, contacting with more than 400 entities and developers with around 150 interested potential customers and end-user interviews. The baseline of the marketing plan has been established, and a list of the actions carried out up to date has been detailed, including agreements with stakeholders. Space legal regulations for nanosatellites have been studied and business risks have been detected, proposing mitigation actions.
The main result achieved has been the Feasibility Report, which includes a preliminary business plan as a starting point for SME Instrument Phase 2 proposal.
The main conclusion of the action is that Test in Space service is commercially feasible. Access to funding will accelerate the development of the service and its positioning in the international market, but especially the launch of a pilot mission in the short-term will be a key action to assure the business success. Test in Space would convert Solar MEMS to a lead turnkey space mission provider for IOD/IOV purposes.
The current European space industry is mainly composed by few big companies that represent the most of the business volume, where SMEs usually play a secondary role as specific component suppliers. Test in Space will definitely change the way to access to space, contributing to the creation of new entities focused on space activities which will provide innovative and competitive solutions as well as new business and investment opportunities. This scenario will assist to the European space industry to maintain its leading position among other emerging countries.
The annual turnover of the space sector in Spain approximately represents the 11% of the European space business volume, contributing with the 9% of the total employment. In Andalusia, only 35 companies are related to the space industry, with around 480 workers and a turnover below 20 M€.
Test in Space will boost the space sector in the region, contributing with a 5% employment growth of highly qualified personnel and a turnover around 10M€ in five years, representing the 50% of the total Andalusian space business volume. Test in Space will also promote the cooperation between different European countries through the space technology development, strengthening the private sector to conduct more space research at both national and European levels.
Test in Space service cover image
MPSAT concept of payload placing in the platform
Test in Space commercial advertisement