UK launches £15m space technology programme
The UK government has announced a £15m (€18m) programme to stimulate space projects. The first projects to be funded in the ‘National Space Innovation Programme’ follow the $1bn deal to rescue OneWeb.
The programme is intended to boost the eco-system of space technology companies. Applications for funding matched grant from £200,000 and £2 million willl close on 2nd September 2020. Projects such as AImotive in Hungary are highlighting low cost satellite designs with AI: PROJECT TAKES AUTOMOTIVE AI CHIPS INTO ORBIT
£5m of the funding is set aside exclusively for international space projects with the US, Australia and Japan.
The UK has previously supported national space innovations on a case-by-case basis, such as funding for spaceports in Scotland and Cornwall as well as launch operators. The programme is intended to provide a more coordinated approach.
“The National Space Innovation Programme will enable the UK to develop products, services and technologies while creating high-skilled jobs and boosting our economy,” said Dr Graham Turnock Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency.
“The UK Space Agency is leading work across Government to develop the UK’s space capabilities. Our closest international competitors have well-developed national programmes alongside their European Space Agency commitments. Now is time for the UK to do the same as we increase our space ambitions,” he said.
The UK industry already supports £300bn of UK economic activity through the use of satellite services, and employs more than 40,000 people. This is expected to grow further with a £60bn market in new Earth observation and communication technologies.
The main focus is on communications projects includes low latency broadband technologies for autonomous vehicles, AI and robotics that can operate in remote areas.
The other focus is on Earth observation technologies. Half of the measurements needed to monitor climate change rely on satellites, so the development of more advanced instruments and data analysis techniques will support climate science and inform strategies to reduce emissions or protect local areas from impacts such as flooding, by identifying changes to the environment
This will also help boost UK exports, which are already worth £5.5 billion each year, in areas such as satellite platforms, sensing systems and advanced software.