The Satellite Applications Catapult, hereinafter referred to as ‘the Catapult’ which is how it is usually known, was established at Harwell in May 2013 by Innovate UK, as one of a network of Catapults to accelerate the take-up of emerging technologies and drive economic growth. It is an independent not-for-profit innovation and technology company, created to foster growth across the economy through the exploitation of space. This Catapult helps organisations make use of and benefit from satellite applications and technologies, which is an area of significant growth for the UK, bringing together multi-disciplinary teams to generate ideas and solutions in an open innovation environment. It is principally a down-stream satellite applications company with particular expertise in Smart Cities, intelligent transport and maritime applications, such as illegal fishing and coastal security. However it does have at least two up-stream facilities that are of particular relevance to this study: a far-field antenna test range and a development environment for CubeSats, described in the following sections.
The Catapult has many down-stream facilities including an operations control centre with spacecraft and payload control software, data processing facilities and data visualisation facilities including a large video wall and 3-D visualisation suite. However, as stated earlier, the current study is concentrating on up-stream facilities and in this context the Catapult believes that both its far-field antenna range and flat-sat development facility for CubeSats are filling an otherwise significant gap in the facilities available within the Harwell Space Cluster.