The performance, versatility and availability of QinetiQ‘s P200 smallsat platform has helped the company to secure a new contractual agreement as part of NASA’s Rapid Spacecraft Acquisition IV (Rapid IV) program. Confirmation of the new contract will enable the US government to place firm and fixed price delivery orders for the P200 and related services up to the end of August 2025.
The announcement of the new agreement with NASA follows continued investment into QinetiQ’s space research and production facilities at Kruibeke in Belgium. This takes infrastructure investment at the site to 4 million euros and is in direct response to the growing demand for QinetiQ’s spacecraft manufacturing and systems integration expertise with a new clean room facility that is due for completion in May (2022). The new resource will provide a 250m² additional cleanroom production area and support facilities for the company’s growing workforce and will also double QinetiQ’s satellite production capacity.
The P200 is the latest generation of the PROBA satellite platform that has become synonymous with small and high-performance satellites, having accumulated more than 41 successful years on-orbit without failure. Incorporating new propulsion and avionics systems, the P200 has been designed to maximize flexibility in configuration for a diverse range of payloads and missions as well as compatibility for a wide range of launch rockets.
One of the latest satellites to capitalize on this high level of versatility is a new specialist encryption company who have signed up to use the P200 platform. Once on-orbit, this new commercial satellite will help to transform the resilience and security of telecommunications systems.
Significantly, complete qualification of the deployment mechanism for the modular solar array of the P200 has recently been confirmed. Such progressive developments are helping to consolidate the platform’s reputation as a readily available, cost-effective, and adaptable solution for increasingly diverse missions and even the most power-hungry payload and equipment.
Now confirmed as a Rapid IV spacecraft vendor, QinetiQ is able to provide NASA and other federal agencies with the opportunity to capitalize on the success and performance benefits of the P200 smallsat platform. The new agreement has been confirmed under the on-ramp feature of the Rapid Spacecraft Acquisition IV (Rapid IV) contract which provides new vendors with the opportunity to put forward flight-proven spacecraft designs. The Rapid IV contracts have a combined potential maximum value of $6 billion and serve as a rapid and flexible means for the US government to acquire spacecraft and related components, equipment and services in support of NASA missions and/or other federal government agencies.
“We’re delighted to be part of NASA’s Rapid IV program,” said Jim Graham, Managing Director of QinetiQ’s space business. “Our P200 is not only continuing to demonstrate its performance and reliability as a highly versatile and cost-effective spacecraft, but is also showing the very real value of our commitment to deliver effective mission-led solutions for our customers. I believe the new contractual agreement with NASA represents the start of an exciting new chapter in the long and enduring PROBA success story.”
QinetiQ QinetiQ is a global integrated defence and security company focused on mission-led innovation for defence, security and civil customers around the world. We are 6000 people creating new ways of protecting what matters most; testing technologies, systems, and processes to make sure they work as expected; and enabling customers to deploy new and enhanced-existing capabilities with the assurance they will deliver the outcomes required. From our sites in Belgium and the UK, QinetiQ’s space team enables the most demanding space missions. We are constantly breaking new ground in the application of cutting-edge technology and delivering pioneering solutions to push the boundaries of space.