Awarded to The Public Service Consultants (trading as The PSC)

Start date: Monday 27 January 2020
Value: £49,781
Company size: SME
UK Space Agency

UK National Space Surveillance and Tracking Capability-Discovery

24 Incomplete applications

20 SME, 4 large

47 Completed applications

34 SME, 13 large

Important dates

Wednesday 13 November 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Wednesday 20 November 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Wednesday 27 November 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
The UK Space Agency (UKSA) is evaluating how stakeholders might utilise a Space Surveillance and Tracking capability. The UKSA is looking for a Supplier to undertake a Discovery that will evaluate needs of two broad stakeholder groups: commercial satellite operators and government.
Latest start date
Monday 27 January 2020
Expected contract length
Discovery phase – 6-8 weeks
Organisation the work is for
UK Space Agency
Budget range
Discovery phase - up to £50,000 ex VAT

About the work

Why the work is being done
The UK Space Agency (UKSA) is evaluating options for Space Surveillance Tracking (SST), while MoD leads ongoing work to enhance the UK Space Operations Centre (SpOC).

In support, the UKSA is evaluating the products and services required by civil users in future. This Discovery could inform: the SpOC software architecture and operating model’s development, how users interact with the services we provide and future policies and programmes.

These users are government, industry and academia. Their requirements will vary both now and in the future.

Relevant services provided by the SpOC might include:

• Warnings when a satellite might collide with another object (‘Conjunction analysis’)
• Warnings when an object in orbit is likely to re-enter the atmosphere and prediction of where the resultant debris might land on the Earth’s surface
• Warnings when an object in orbit is likely to fragment and analysis of the debris created, which may affect other satellites
• Alerts when certain objects perform manoeuvres (e.g. UK-licensed satellites)
• Monitoring of a UK-licensed satellite’s compliance with its licensing conditions
• Historical data for use in academic research
Problem to be solved
The UKSA wishes to understand what products and services its civil users need from the SpOC, and the operational model it should use to deliver these. These may be different from the services the SpOC currently provides.

The Discovery should:

• Identify a set of civil User Needs for the civil SST
• Identify the user journeys for different stakeholders
Who the users are and what they need to do
Key users are:

Satellite operators (mainly commercial, some academic), who wish to protect their asset from collisions with space debris and other satellites.

Regulators (part of UK Space Agency), who license satellite launch and operations.

Government (e.g. Civil Contingencies Secretariat, Foreign & Commonwealth Office), who may need to react to events happening on orbit where they could impact the economy, public safety, national security or international diplomacy.

Academics, who may wish to use SST data to conduct their research.

Military users are out of scope for this Discovery.
Early market engagement
Any work that’s already been done
Survey of satellite operators was carried out in October 2019. This will be shared with the successful supplier. Some business analysis has been carried out as part of current SpOC enhancement work, and this will be shared with the successful supplier where possible.
Existing team
The Supplier will be working with the UKSA SST team, as well as the Orbital Analysts who currently deliver civil operations in the UK SpOC.
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
UK Space Agency, 10 Victoria Street, London
Working arrangements
Colocation onsite primarily in London during Discovery Phase, with some days in High Wycombe and Swindon.

Travel to interview stakeholders required, with majority based in London and South East. UKSA will facilitate meetings with government and industry stakeholders where possible.
Security clearance
Minimum BPSS for all team members required. SC clearance of at least one member of team is desirable.

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions
Travel costs beyond sites listed in working arrangements will be reimbursed in line with UKSA T&S policy.

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Demonstrate experience of working with public sector teams, particularly those with no/limited experience of Agile, in Discovery and iterative development
  • Experience in delivering evidence-based research to inform a user-centred design, focused on user needs, end-to-end user journeys, motivations and goals
  • Experience or understanding of working to the Service Standard, including Service Design Manual (both found on GOV.UK); Technology Code of Practice; and wider industry standards.
  • Experience of working in a technical science area
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • At least one team member with security clearance SC or above
  • Experience in the space sector

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Example of experience(s) within the public sector and technical science field of delivering the expected outcomes for a similar discovery phase
  • Understanding of the policy context
  • Approach to undertaking user research in a niche, technical field
  • Team structure, including skills, experiences and relevance of individuals
  • Identification of risks and plans to mitigate them
  • An approach that is consistent with the Government Service Standard
Cultural fit criteria
  • Worked as a team with the customer
  • Been transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Shared knowledge and experience with team members and the wider organisation
Payment approach
Capped time and materials
Additional assessment methods
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. Will not possessing a nice to have requirement in anyway prejudice an application?
All applications will be evaluated in line with the essential skills and experience of suppliers. The nice-to-have skills and experience may be considered when considering either the proposal criteria or cultural criteria in cases where scores between suppliers may be even.
2. Can you explain what constitutes or defines the technical science area?
The requirements regarding the UK National Space Surveillance and Tracking Capability-Discovery did not specify a particular technical science area. User researchers who have worked with suitable technical or scientific bodies would be suitable but suppliers do not require their own scientific experience.
3. We are aware that you have worked with a digital agency in the past. Will that agency be part of the procurement process?
The request is open to all suppliers on the framework.
4. The requirement "Experience in the space sector" is very specific. We don't have Space sector experience, could you clarify if non-space sector experience is relevant and if so what are the areas of expertise you are particularly looking for?
‘Experience in the space sector,’ is listed as a ‘nice-to-have requirement.’ It is not essential to the role. Please refer to the 'essential skills and experience' section for specific areas of expertise.
5. Do you expect the development to go through GDS Assessment?
6. What work has already been done to identify the data sources the service may make available?
Many of the data sources applicable to the UK National Space Surveillance and Tracking Capability-Discovery are either sensitive or classified at official-sensitive (O-S). We are unable to provide all information at this stage. All relevant research and information will be shared with the successful supplier, where possible.