UK Space Command showcased a scale model of the Tyche satellite at the DSEI 2023 event in London. Tyche is a concept demonstrator satellite being developed by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) as part of the Minerva project. The satellite, weighing 150 kg, is being built under a GBP22 million contract and is expected to launch in 2024.
Tyche is based on SSTL’s Carbonite family of electro-optical (EO) satellites. Its primary objective is to provide representative data to UK Space Command, enabling the command to optimize the utilization of this information for defense, security, and other evolving purposes. The satellite will also possess in-orbit processing capabilities.
The Minerva project is an operational concept demonstrator that supports the larger GBP970 million ISTARI program. The program aims to establish a multisatellite intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) constellation. Tyche will be the first satellite in this network. In April 2023, an invitation to tender was issued for the design and manufacture of another EO satellite called Juno, with a support project budget of GBP40 million over three and a half years.
Minerva also includes Oberon, a cluster of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites, and Titania, which explores the military applications of low Earth orbit (LEO) direct-to-Earth free-space optical communications (FSOC).
The Tyche satellite prototype offers a significant milestone in the UK’s space capabilities. It will contribute to enhanced defense and security operations through the efficient utilization of space-based assets. The progress made in the Minerva project demonstrates the UK’s commitment to advancing its space capabilities and strengthening its position in the global space industry.