Team Artemis constellation to be built for RAF by SSTL with Virgin Orbit getting the launches

by | Jul 19, 2019 | Military space, Satellites, Seradata News

While its Team Artemis name may be confusing given that NASA is calling its next human moon-landing programme Artemis, nevertheless, under this banner the UK Ministry of Defence – in the shape of its Secretary of State, Penny Mordaunt, has announced the construction order for a GB£30 million (US$37 million) small communications satellite constellation The satellites will be built for the Royal Air Force (RAF) to act as a data link relay to RAF fighter jets, giving them a complete picture for pilot tactical awareness.

Artist’s impression of Virgin Orbit’s Boeing 747-400/LauncherOne combination operating from Newquay spaceport. Courtesy: UK Space Agency

The spacecraft will be launched by Virgin Orbit using its LauncherOne air launched rocket.  The first launch of the Team Artemis constellation is expected to be in Q4 2020 at the earliest, with launches to happen often on a quick reaction basis.

In addition to the above, under the US-led Operation Olympic Defender, it has been announced that the UK Armed forces will be sending over eight personnel to the US Combined Space Operations Centre at Vandenberg, California.

Space News goes into more detail on how the craft will be “quick response” launched by Virgin Orbit here

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