In order to develop and control the USIS so that it can become an open standard that can be used by the space industry with confidence, it is proposed to found an independent association with the legal structure of a limited equity private company, that is owned by stakeholders such as satellite manufacturers, launch system providers and government agencies.
The USIS Association is modelled on the successful controlling bodies of consumer electronics standards such as USB. The most common structure is an Executive Board that determines the business aspects of the Association and a Technical Board who determine the technical aspects of the standard.
One difference from the typical technical standard is that the current plan assumes the costs in establishing the standard will be recovered through royalties on its use.
The proposed Articles of Association outline a company founded under English law that is in the control of the Members. These Members are restricted to corporate bodies with an interest in the USIS as part of their purpose. Members pay a subscription which entitles them to shares in the Association but they do not have to take up this share entitlement; it is membership rather than shareholding that confers the right to participate and vote in the Association’s affairs. If a Member with shares leaves the Association, it would retain the shareholding and the right to receive any dividends that are paid out.
The Association will create the USIS in three phases. The first phase establishes the requirements, the second phase creates the technical standard, and the third phase will be the managing of the standard once it is being used.
The USIS Association is currently an agreement between Reaction Engines Limited and Hempsell Astronautics Limited; with Hempsell Astronautics Limited managing the setting up of the Association.
The USIS Association was publically launched at the 65th International Astronautical Congress in Toronto, Canada. The Association is recruiting members with a view to incorporating itself as a company in the second quarter of 2016.