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Open Cosmos to develop ‘MANTIS’ Earth observation satellite

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Open Cosmos has signed an agreement with the European Space Agency to develop a new Earth Observation satellite called ‘MANTIS‘. Open Cosmos announced their dream project at the European Space Agency center in Frascati this week during the Earth Observation Phi-Week event. ‘MANTIS’ stands for ‘Mission and Agile Nanosatellite for Terrestrial Imagery Services’.

As the name suggests, MANTIS will be the demonstration mission to jointly develop, build, launch and operate an innovative nanosatellite platform, flying a high-resolution Earth Observation camera.

According to an Open Cosmos blog post, MANTIS will be the first of an aggregated constellation operated by Open Cosmos. In addition to that, the customers can also access diverse types, and volumes of information depending on the number of satellites contributed to the constellation. Open Cosmos hopes that “this will enable organizations of all sizes and sectors to not only leverage their own space infrastructure (developed and managed by Open Cosmos) but also benefit from additional data sets and services from satellites that Open Cosmos manages and operates for others”.

Rafel Jordá Siquier, the founder and CEO of Open Cosmos said in a report:

Open Cosmos is very excited to work on this next generation Earth Observation satellite. This project shows that bringing together the best specialists in their fields, in this case Open Cosmos, Satlantis and Terrabotics, leads to great technical performance improvements of Earth Observation platforms, while at the same time significantly reducing time to orbit, complexity and cost of these systems.

Companies in the energy and mining sectors are increasingly carrying out more complex and expensive projects in search of resources. Up to 60 percent of resources can be found in more remote, hostile, and hazardous regions around the world. Additionally, two-thirds of major projects fail due to unforeseen risks and hazards as a result of inadequate upfront due diligence, planning and prior knowledge of the challenging operating environments.

As it was reported, MANTIS will work on “these challenges with periodic statistics reports on activity in the regions of interest, computed through the latest data processing and machine learning techniques on top of other data sets, such as Copernicus”. The satellite will collect images and feed these data processing algorithms in a revisit pattern that is optimized for specific areas of interest.

Josef Aschbacher, Director of ESA’s Earth Observation Programmes has a very positive mindset about the mission. He added:

“MANTIS is an example of how the European New Space sector supported by the ESA Investing in Industrial Innovation (InCubed) programme can leverage world-class European competences along the entire Earth Observation value chain, creating value in the fast-growing Earth Observation commercial sector designed to support specific business verticals.”

Besides him, Beth Greenaway, Head of Earth Observations and Climate at the UK Space Agency said:

“The UK Space Agency is very excited to see this project get underway. It uses the expertise from innovative Earth Observation companies in the UK and the advice and expertise of the ESA experts to drive growth in the Earth Observation sector. I am looking forward to seeing the applications and use of these new missions.”

This Open Cosmos dream satellite project is funded under the UK Space Agency, and it also contributes to the ESA InCubed program. In addition to that, the project brings together the expertise of three space companies. While Open Cosmos from the UK will provide the design, manufacturing, testing, launch, and operation of the mission based on a new generation 12U spacecraft platform; Satlantis from Spain will build the high spatial resolution camera. Along with them, Terrabotics from the UK will use its novel data analysis “to satisfy the needs of their energy and mining customers”.

Gareth Morgan, the CEO of Terrabotics stated:

“We are thrilled to be a part of the MANTIS mission. It is very exciting for us to have the opportunity to collaborate with the entire consortium on the development of an innovative, vertically integrated Earth Observation solution for application to the natural resources industry.”

Juan Tomás Hernani, the CEO of Satlantis also mentioned:

“MANTIS is a major breakthrough to provide new cubesats with very high resolution native multispectral Earth Observation technology, delivering fast projects that will empower customers with real time performance. Ecosystems proposals like Satlantis/Open Cosmos/Terrabotics is the new way that the sector responds to the GeoInformation needs of industry.”

The MANTIS project surely lifts up the hope of many in seeing our world in a different way. If the project sees success then it will surely change the energy and mining experience of the human world.


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