Japan's Mitsubishi Electric is building two technology demonstration satellites and is negotiating with the Euro-Russian Starsem organisation for launches by Soyuz-Fregats in 2003 and 2005.

The Space Environment Reliability Verification Integrated System (SERVIS) craft are intended to verify low-cost, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) parts and technologies in severe space conditions, particularly where there is a radiated environment.

Mitsubishi hopes the mission will prove the technologies can be used for future spacecraft projects, providing reduced costs and faster component delivery.

COTS components likely to be used include propellant tanks, navigation and power subsystems, computers, star trackers, batteries and gyros.

Source: Flight International