Airbus innovative payload to launch on Faraday-1 satellite

July 2, 2020
Prometheus 1 will be launched on the Faraday-1 cubesat from New Zealand on July 3.

STEVENAGE, U.K. - An Airbus developed next generation retaskable software defined radio payload, Prometheus 1, will be launched on the Faraday-1 cubesat from New Zealand on July 3. The Faraday-1 mission is part of In Space Missions Ltd’s in-orbit demonstration program.

Prometheus 1 is a software defined radio, connected to a 400 MHz UHF antenna that can be reprogrammed in orbit. It will be able to survey radio spectrum usage across the world from orbit, detect radar tracking of the Faraday-1 satellite, and identify and locate search and rescue beacons. Airbus is working with the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) to foster greater partnerships between SMEs, government and Airbus on space.

Airbus Defence and Space in the UK created the self funded Prometheus program to enable the rapid development of agile and innovative payloads using disruptive technology to offer significant capability to customers. Building on Airbus’ proven track record of working with SMEs to create novel capability and prove concepts, the Prometheus program developed the payload for Faraday-1 in under three months.

Prometheus 1 will prove passive radio frequency sensing in orbit, enabling the technology to be incorporated on future missions where hostile tracking of sovereign spacecraft is likely or possible.

The Airbus newspace team is championing the Prometheus program and a second mission is already in development, which will be cubesats with RF and optical sensors, and features inter satellite links. Prometheus 2 is due for launch in the second half of 2021.

Airbus is working with In Space Missions to offer ‘Space as a Service’ access to capability for DSTL to get involved in experiments with assets in orbit.

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