Posted 20 February 2024 in Defence, News, Security, Space.
  • RHEATECH Ltd has been selected by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to develop BEROE, a ground segment for a planned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance satellite constellation.
  • RHEA’s BEROE design will use our ASTRAL ground segment platform to provide highly automated constellation operations.
  • The 20-month contract will run until March 2025.

RHEATECH Ltd has been selected by the UK MoD to develop a ground segment for a planned intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance satellite constellation linked to the ISTARI and MINERVA programmes, a core element of the UK’s £1.4 billion (€1.6 billion) space strategy. Based on RHEA’s operationally proven ASTRAL ground segment solution, BEROE will provide the UK MoD with a robust, secure and highly automated constellation control system capable of working with satellites from multiple manufacturers.

ISTARI is a 10-year, £968 million (€1.1 billion) programme that will deliver a multi-satellite system to support global surveillance and intelligence for military operations. Underpinning ISTARI is MINERVA, a £127 million (€145 million) project to develop a network of satellites to demonstrate the ability to autonomously collect, process and disseminate data from UK and allied space assets to support frontline military decision-making.

Alastair Pidgeon, Principal Solution Architect for RHEA UK, said: “Our BEROE ground segment is being designed to enable efficient, highly automated operations of a constellation of diverse spacecraft in low Earth orbit, which may use different space-ground communication protocols to connect to the UK MoD’s new generation of ground stations. BEROE will enable the satellites to be operated with a common ‘concept of operations’ approach, providing operators and managers with overall situational awareness of the whole constellation, as well as for individual spacecraft.”

The 20-month project will be delivered in three phases, each of which will deliver additional capabilities. RHEA’s team will configure ASTRAL to provide BEROE with integrated systems for operations procedure preparation, satellite mission planning and schedule generation, automation of scheduling and operations procedures, and satellite command and monitoring. BEROE will also provide a mission archive, ground station interfaces and satellite flight dynamics in addition to situational awareness. As ASTRAL components are designed to be multi-mission, only the satellite commanding and monitoring needs to be adapted for each spacecraft.

RHEA’s ASTRAL is already being used to support Astroscale’s ELSA-d, ADRAS-J and ELSA-M spacecraft: pioneering missions in the quest to remove space debris. RHEA’s MOIS tool, which is now integrated into the ASTRAL elements, has been used by commercial and institutional manufacturers and operators to support operations for over 120 spacecraft. ASTRAL supports the European Ground Systems – Common Core (EGS-CC), a European initiative with the objective of developing and promoting a new generation of ground systems, as the default mission control system. It is deployable on the cloud, enabling additional flexibility and scalability.