CGI helps launch UK space technology team Athena

20 May 2020 3 min. read
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Four UK-based companies announce today that they will team up to combine their complementary skills and expertise to enhance further the country’s space industry capabilities to deliver prosperity and security.

Global consulting firm CGI delivers complex, mission-critical space software systems for clients across Europe, Australia, Asia and North America supporting satellite navigation, communications and operations, space science, to space enabled applications. CGI’s space system services include data processing and exploitation, satellite communications, orbit determination, command and control, ground segment engineering, navigation and situational awareness.

Due to its expertise when it comes to operating in the final frontier, CGI has been tasked to make up part of the UK’s new ‘national team in space’ – formed to seize development opportunities that new space technologies will offer, driving economic growth for the UK and diversification across the British space sector. Named Athena, the project is aimed at enhancing Britain’s ability to deliver the Government’s ‘Prosperity and Security in Space’ strategy, which aims to increase the value of space to wider industrial activities to £500 billion, generate an extra £5 billion in UK exports and attract £3 billion of additional inward investment.

CGI helps launch UK space technology team Athena

Athena will help the UK develop in importance worldwide to facilitate new technologies such as driverless transport, enhanced navigation, secure communications for defence and for industry via the Internet of Things (IoT) and, more broadly, as part of 5G and other hybrid networks. The entity has been formed by an alliance between CGI UK, Serco, Inmarsat and Lockheed Martin UK. The four companies are renowned for their expertise in providing technology and services across defence, space, communications and information technology to governments, businesses and other organisations.

Commenting on the news, Kevin Craven Serco Chief Executive, UK & Europe, said, “I am delighted to introduce Athena as an exciting new team that will deliver enhanced space-based technologies and services from the UK. Athena will boost British capabilities, as well as the economy, via growth in this fast-moving, developing sector. The launch of Athena also ensures diversity and choice in the UK space sector for future sustainable development.”

Athena will work on a number of opportunities that leverage space-based technologies, their ground-based systems and end-to-end services as they arise, both in the UK and internationally in the export market. While continuing to operate as separate companies, Athena will see Serco, Inmarsat, CGI UK and Lockheed Martin UK develop shared capabilities to meet future demand for space-enabled solutions for business and government customers. This will also aim to boost the UK economy, in partnership with the UK Government’s growing focus on the space sector and its priorities around ‘levelling up’ economic benefits across the country.

The news follows an announcement earlier in 2020 that CGI had landed a new contract with the European Space Agency, which will see the firm work to develop a tool-kit for the organisation’s terrestrial and satellite networks. Ultimately, the work will enable telecom network operators to quickly and efficiently design and optimise 5G networks with the use of satellites.