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  • Satellite Evolution

AAC Clyde Space advances the xSPANCION project

AAC Clyde Space and its partners, have successfully completed the first phase of the xSPANCION project with a successful Preliminary Design Review, conducted jointly with the European Space Agency (ESA). Together with the partners, the company has agreed to accelerate the project by kicking off the Spacecraft Manufacturing Preparation Phase. To achieve this, a Phase 2 has been introduced to the project valued at 5.6 MEUR (approx. 57.3 MSEK), of which the UK Space Agency, through the ESA's Pioneer Partnership Projects, will contribute 2.8 MEUR (approx. 28.7 MSEK).

The 3-year project, previously announced 18th November 2020 by AAC Clyde Space aims to develop an innovative satellite constellation service. The total €19.7 million (approx. 201.7 MSEK) project is co-funded by the UK Space Agency, through ESA's Pioneer Partnership Projects, with €9.9 million (approx. 100.9 MSEK). The first phase of the project up to Preliminary Design Review, valued at €1.8 million (approx. 18.4 MSEK), was initiated late 2020.

"xSPANCION promises to revolutionize our Space Data as a Service offering with technology that will allow us to share significantly lower costs for space-based data with customers. We want the project to catalyze a new generation of applications not previously possible, appealing to both new and existing customers. The start of Phase 2 will ensure that we can continue the project at full speed," says AAC Clyde Space CEO Luis Gomes.

"ESA's Pioneer programme provides innovators and entrepreneurs like AAC Clyde Space the framework to develop new products and services in a cost-effective and agile way, creating jobs, boosting prosperity and supporting the success of the European space industry," says ESA Telecommunications and Integrated Applications Director, Elodie Viau.

The Manufacturing Preparation Phase, or Phase 2, has now started and is expected to be finalized by the end of 2022.

It includes detailed design of constellation-ready spacecraft, development of digital production processes, constellation operations capability together with licensing, regulation, and more efficient launch coordination to deliver a step-change in capability to deliver constellations. This new phase of the project is valued at €5.6 million (approx. 57.3 MSEK), of which the UK Space Agency, through the ESA ARTES Pioneer Partnership Programme, will contribute €2.8 million (approx. 28.7 MSEK). The funding from UK Space Agency in this phase will, as in the initial phase, be recognized as revenue with no net margin while AAC Clyde Space and its partners will co-fund the remaining €2.8 million (approx. 28.9 MSEK).

AAC Clyde Space continues discussions with selected customers to enter agreements for data delivery from the constellation service. The dialogues are ongoing and are expected to be completed before the start of the third and final phase of the project, which includes the manufacturing of 10 novel spacecraft and the launch of 4 demonstration spacecraft. This Phase 3 is expected to commence during the first six months of 2022, with completion end of 2023, and a value of €12.3 million (approx. 126.0 MSEK).

The xSPANCION project is supported by the UK Space Agency through the ESA ARTES Pioneer Partnership Programme. It is structured as a Public Private Partnership, in which AAC Clyde Space and its partners, Bright Ascension Ltd., the University of Strathclyde, D-Orbit UK, Alden Legal UK and the Satellite Applications Catapult are working in partnership with the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency to develop a Space Data as a Service offering.


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