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14 March 2022: Foresight Group (“Foresight”), a listed private equity and infrastructure investment manager, is pleased to announce a further £624,000 of growth capital investment into Oxford Space Systems (“OSS”), an early-stage satellite component company. The investment is funded by the Foresight Williams Technology Fund (“FWT”), a joint venture between Foresight and Williams Advanced Engineering (“WAE”).
Founded in 2013, OSS is a manufacturer of innovative satellite components designed to capitalise on the trend for lighter and smaller satellites. Its deployable antenna products offer a more efficient stowage solution, reducing transport volume and mass in each satellite, thereby enabling more satellites per launch and, critically when launch costs are high, reducing the cost of each operation.
FWT initially invested in November 2018 and this new £3.9m investment round will accelerate the commercialisation of its existing flight-proven deployable antenna product portfolio and develop new innovative products. Alongside leading UK venture capital investors, this round has been supported by the National Security Strategic Investment Fund (“NSSIF”), which is the Government’s corporate venturing arm for national security and defence technologies, working closely with the Ministry of Defence (“MoD”).
The initial focus with the MoD customer will be the ‘Wrapped Rib Antenna’. This is a pioneering new space antenna deploying carbon-fibre ribs from a central hub to form a parabolic dish of upwards of 3m supporting a high performing metal mesh reflector surface. It has a uniquely compact stowed configuration and achieves a highly cost-efficient performance when deployed in orbit. This UK developed antenna technology will be used to meet the needs of fine-resolution Low Earth Orbit Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery. SAR permits all weather Earth observation, irrespective of time of day or night. This provides unique advantages for both civil and defence applications.
Commenting on the investment, Nick Mettyear, Senior Investment Manager at Foresight said: “Foresight is delighted to continue supporting OSS. This strategic partnership with NSSIF marks an exciting new phase for the company and its products.”
Sean Sutcliffe, Chief Executive of OSS, added: “This investment will allow us to accelerate our business plan and in particular our product development for the game changing Wrapped Rib SAR antenna. We are particularly pleased with continued support from Foresight Williams, both in terms of additional investment but also work we have undertaken with Williams Advanced Engineering.”
Matthew Burke, Head of Technology Ventures, WAE added: “Since FWT’s initial investment, it has been wonderful to see OSS and WAE lightweighting experts working together, and with this follow-on investment we are delighted to continue our support for Sean and the team at OSS.”