U.K. to Launch 'demo' Satellite

LONDON, Oct. 18 (UPI) — Britain says it will launch a satellite to demonstrate the country’s technical prowess and test new space technologies.

The TechDemoSat satellite, to be launched in 18 months time, will carry components and instruments developers hope will prove their worth and generate international business, the BBC reported Monday.

U.K. company Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. will lead the project.

One unique payload item will be a system to destroy TechDemoSat at the end of its useful life. A “sail” would be deployed from the satellite to force it out of orbit to be incinerated as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere. A usable technology to “retire” end-of-mission spacecraft is expected to have a big market in the future.

The TechDemoSat mission is being funded with a grant of $1.2 million from the U.K. government’s Technology Strategy Board.

“One of our key philosophies is to help companies overcome barriers to market,” TSB’s Michael Lawrence said.

“There are a number of British-based space companies out there that have great technology but they need to demonstrate it in orbit. Hopefully, this initiative will help them prove the technology works and that will open up commercial markets for them,” he told the BBC.

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