The Regional Ministry of the University connects the Alpha mission with 360 R&D groups to explore ways of cooperation in the loading of this space instrument and in the use of the data collected

The Regional Ministry of University, Research and Innovation has begun to collaborate with the business consortium that promotes the design, manufacture and launch of the private initiative and purely Andalusian satellite for scientific use, which is scheduled to be put into orbit in 2025.

The space mission called Alpha has a solidarity nature as it seeks to generate knowledge in the Andalusian region through cooperation between companies, universities and R&D centers and share it freely for the improvement of society. The project is promoted by Alter Technologies, CactusSoft, Indaero Grupo Emergy and Integrasys and counts, among others, with the collaboration of DHV Technologies, the Seville Chamber of Commerce and the universities of Seville and Cádiz.

Prevention of fires, floods and catastrophes, optimization of the use of water in crops, management of vehicle traffic or measurement of economic activity in real time through, for example, the light intensity detected in populations. Its practical applications can be multiple, with incidence in areas of activity such as agriculture, fishing and marine and livestock resources; environment; meteorology and climate change; The renewable energies; geology; the arqueology; astronomy or demography and urbanism.

The cooperation initiated by the Junta has allowed the connection of the consortium with more than 360 research groups, coming from Andalusian public universities and other public and private organizations based in the community to explore possible ways of joint work both in the design of the project and the definition of the technological load that this space instrument will incorporate, as well as the final use of the information collected by the system.

To this end, a public call for participation has been launched aimed at these knowledge agents, in order for them to express their interest in participating in any of the proposed lines of work. They will have until January 30, 2023 to submit their applications.

It has been estimated that around 60 of these R&D groups could provide the technology that will be housed in the satellite, the so-called payload. The infrastructure has been designed to house two payloads, so two projects will be selected from these agents, who would have to assume the full or partial financing of the chosen equipment, since the consortium will cover the expenses of the mission. This technological endowment includes various instruments such as cameras, sensors, detectors or spectrometers, dedicated to measuring the quality and level of air pollution.

The remaining 300 research groups will be able to propose what purpose the data will be given. In this case, the social impact that it will have for Andalusia will be prioritized in the election, taking into account that this space mission is not for profit. It will not be commercialized with the data obtained, but these will be transferred to public or private entities for the improvement of education, health, the economy or the common well-being of the region.

The participation of the Regional Ministry of University has also materialized in advising on knowledge transfer and international R&D programs.

200,000 euros estimated budget for the mission

The Alpha satellite, of the CubeSat type, will operate in the LEO orbit and will have an estimated useful life of at least one year. It requires an investment of around 200,000 euros, although its development is subject to an analysis of its technical and economic feasibility. The objective is that more private companies participate in their financing to design and build this instrument. The phases of the project are specified in the choice of projects, closing of the budget and start of manufacturing in 2023, testing campaign and resolution of problems in 2024 and launch in 2025, according to the forecasts managed by the consortium partners.

The initiative aims to get Andalusian companies to join the space race, in a context in which the so-called ‘new space’ industry is expanding and allows not only large companies or even governments to launch this infrastructure into space, but smaller companies do it. This is possible thanks to the cheaper technology that makes it easier for private companies to undertake their manufacture.