Press release: Government funds UK companies at the forefront of space innovation

Uk Space Agency

December 7
08:30 2020

The cash injection is going to high-risk, high-reward projects that support companies and universities with radical ideas for how we tackle climate change through Earth Observation or address satellite communications challenges, from providing greater connectivity to remote places to increasing the efficiency of our homes.

Projects set for the cash boost include The Open University who will use the money to create the UKs first Precision Forestry tool, TreeView, which will support efforts to tackle the climate emergency through detailed measurement of tree-planting initiatives aimed at increasing carbon dioxide removal.

Surrey-based Global Satellite Vu will build a new compact, high-resolution infrared camera for satellites to measure thermal emissions from our homes, schools and places of work, supporting the governments green economic recovery plan.

Space Forge will take advantage of the unique qualities offered by the space environment. By manufacturing in microgravity, the space start-up hopes to produce a next-generation computer chip for the terrestrial and satellite telecommunications industries and return them from orbit for use on Earth.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:

We want the UK to be a world leader in space technology which is why we are supporting our most ambitious innovators who are developing first-of-a-kind technologies to help solve some of our greatest challenges.

From slashing carbon emissions to protecting the UKs critical services from harmful cyber-attacks, todays funding will unshackle our most entrepreneurial space scientists so that they can transfer their revolutionary ideas into world-class products and services, while helping to boost the UK economy.

The funding comes from the UK Space Agencys National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP), which is the first UK fund dedicated to supporting the space sectors development of innovations, allowing us to compete internationally on the world stage with other countries, like France and Germany, which have dedicated national funding for space.

Businesses, universities and research organisations were awarded co-funding for projects that will help the space sector create new high-skilled jobs, while developing new skills and technologies on UK soil. Grants from the 15 million funding pot range from between 170,000 and 1.4 million per project.

Dr Graham?Turnock,?Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:

Space technologies have become deeply embedded in, and critical to, almost every aspect of our daily lives. With rapid technological innovation, space offers a broad and growing range of opportunities to support economic activity and protect the environment.

From the satellites connecting our calls to the ones that tell us when to expect rain when we step outside, space technologies are fundamental to our day-to-day lives.

Our space sector is constantly advancing and welcoming new ideas, and through this funding we are championing the best of this British innovation.

In addition, 5 million of the programme funding has been set aside for international projects, which will focus on increasing exports and securing new inward investment, supporting UK science and the prosperity agenda by funding working relationships between world-leading researchers and institutions and developing space capabilities important to the UKs security interests.

The call for applications for this strand of funding closed in October and successful applicants will be announced in the coming weeks.

The UK space sector is a huge economic success story, growing by over 60% since 2010. The industry already supports 300 billion of UK economic activity through the use of satellite services and is expected to grow further as this new government support unlocks commercial opportunities.

The UK also remains a leading member of the European Space Agency, which is independent of the EU. ESA membership allows the UK to cooperate in world-leading science on a global scale, enabling UK scientists and researchers access to a range of international R&D programmes.

Further details on the 21 projects

Space-based Mapping & Monitoring of Wetlands Carbon Sequestration, Argans, Plymouth, 215,866.00

Wetlands regeneration and conservation efforts offer a highly effective source of reducing emissions via carbon sequestration. The potential of wetlands is limited by the cost of mapping and monitoring. Plymouth based Argans aim to remedy this by utilising Earth Observation (EO) by developing a wetlands map to support monitoring of total carbon emissions for national accounting and to provide low-cost intelligence on how and where governments can most cost-effectively intervene to leverage wetlands as a source of carbon sequestration.

Consortium Partner: London Economics Ltd

GHGWatch, Geospatial Insight, Birmingham, 226,295.86

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are recognised as a major contributor to climate change and temperature increase, but detection and monitoring of locations where emissions are occurring is problematic and expensive using current technologies. Geospatial Insight aims to create a service which will detect, quantify and monitor point-source GHG emissions.

Consortium Partner: University of Leicester

TreeView: Precision Forestry to Tackle Climate Change, The Open University, Milton Keynes, 283,978.68

TreeView, led by The Open University, is a SmallSat mission to provide unprecedented capacity in the emerging field of Precision Forestry. A major pillar of UKs national response to the climate change emergency is a significant increase in tree planting for a nature-based carbon capture and storage solution. In this project, the team will conduct a feasibility study, resulting in a system design document and science case that both justifies and defines the UKs first Precision Forestry tool with a national focus but global potential.

Consortium Partners: 2Excel Geo, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Forest Research, Grey Consultants, In-Space, RAL Space, Teledyne e2v, XCAM

Development of Novel High Resolution Infrared Sensor Payload for Heat?Detection, Global Satellite VU, Surrey, 1,399,179.83??

Global Satellite VU will develop and launch the worlds first small ~130kg satellite that will deliver high-quality thermal video and thermal still imagery of the Earth, initiating the design, build and integration of the infrared camera.

By launching a small constellation of infrared satellites, this project looks to measure the thermal emissions from any structure on the planet; their technology will act as the Earths Smart Energy meter to monitor energy efficiency, economic activity and carbon footprint.

Consortium Partner: Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd

Nexus, Space Forge, Newport, Wales, 329,326

Space Forge is developing and launching the worlds first returnable satellite, delivering revolutionary products back to Earth to significantly improve the efficiency and sustainability of telecommunications infrastructure. They are launching a small fleet of satellites to harness the benefits of the space environment for manufacture of next generation devices, changing the way in which the UK uses space, for the benefit of its citizens on Earth.

Consortium Partners: Compound Semiconductor, Applications Catapult, AAC Clyde Space

Project?CitiScan, D-Orbit UK Ltd, London, 183,158.00

Project CitiScan aim to develop a new, responsive, space-based climate observation service to support end users in their goal to achieve national and global climate obligations. The project will provide climate-related measurements of individual cities and industrial complexes to enable end-users, such as local authorities, to monitor their omissions and progress.

Consortium Partners: Thales Alenia Space UK, University of Leicester

ROKS payload flight model discovery phase, Craft Prospect Limited, Glasgow, 345,433.00

The Responsive Operations for Key Services (ROKS) mission will demonstrate technologies for future secure telecommunication systems using Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) and supported by artificial intelligence. This discovery phase will progress the flight payload and ground test systems to Critical Design Review (CDR), before a final build and delivery to demonstrate in-orbit operation by 2022. To date the work has developed the technology basis for miniaturized space-ready QKD systems and has developed service opportunities with multinational finance, telecommunication and data providers for securing their networks.

Consortium Partners: Strathclyde University, Bristol University, Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics (CAP) Glasgow

RAPID Real-time AI Processes for Intelligent Detection, Teledyne e2v, Chelmsford, 207,637.50

New imaging sensors designed for Earth Observation (EO) are being developed wi

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