UK Government Commissions Space Solar Power Stations Research

Artist’s impression of how a space-based solar power station might work. (Credit: Frazer-Nash Consultancy)

Solar energy harvested in space offers the potential for an unlimited and constant zero carbon power source

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK government has commissioned new research into space-based solar power (SBSP) systems that would use very large solar power satellites to collect solar energy, convert it into high-frequency radio waves, and safely beam it back to ground-based receivers connected to the electrical power grid.

It is an idea first conjured by science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov in 1941, and is now being studied by several nations because the lightweight solar panels and wireless power transmission technology is advancing rapidly. This, together with lower cost commercial space launch, may make the concept of solar power satellites more feasible and economically viable.

Now the UK in 2020 will explore whether this renewable technology could offer a resilient, safe and sustainable energy source.

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UK to Play Critical Role in Building ‘the Claw’ – the First Satellite to Remove Space Junk

ClearSpace-1 mission (Credit: ClearSpace)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Vital technology for the first ever mission to remove a piece of debris from space is going to be built in the UK, the Science Minister has announced.

Planned for 2025, Clearspace-1 is the first ever space mission dedicated to removing an existing object in orbit, and is a significant first step towards a cleaner space environment. The Clearspace-1 satellite – dubbed ‘The Claw’ – will use a pincer motion to collect debris, before giving it a controlled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere – allowing it to decompose safely and away from life.

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AstroAgency and Scottish Space Leadership Council Secure Space Agency Funding

EDINBURGH (AstroAgency PR)) — A strategic marketing firm working exclusively across the international space sector has been awarded a development grant from the UK Space Agency to establish a space hub on behalf of the Scottish Space Leadership Council (SSLC).

International space start-up AstroAgency will use the financial support to advance the SSLC into a formalised entity, with the ultimate aim of connecting and promoting Scotland’s fast-growing space ecosystem nationally and internationally.

Established by industry experts, the space intelligence and marketing firm has grown to 12 staff in its first year, securing a long list of high profile and established global space clients and new entrants looking to transition into the sector.

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Government Unveils New Support for UK Space Hubs

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Government has backed the development of new ‘space hubs’ across England, as well as funding to support projects in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Each area, dubbed a ‘space hub’, will use government funding to bring together local authorities, expertise and businesses to create a strategy for how their area can take maximum advantage of the commercial space race. Harwell in Oxfordshire established itself as a space hub in the last 10 years, and ministers want to replicate this success in other areas.

Funding is going to seven locations – including the North West, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire – to ensure space is a priority for regional economic growth and attract commercial investment from space companies to these areas.

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Shetland Space Centre Welcomes Transfer of Lockheed Martin UKVL Pathfinder Programme to Unst

Launch from Shetland (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

HAROLDSWICK, Scotland (Shetland Space Centre PR) — Shetland Space Centre today welcomed the announcement from the UK Space Agency that Lockheed Martin is transferring its satellite launch operations to Unst, creating hundreds of jobs.

UKSA said that the move from Sutherland followed a thorough process of due diligence and the project would deliver long-term value and help establish a sustainable, commercial launch market as part of the UK’s spaceflight programme – LaunchUK.

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Lockheed Martin’s Move to Shetland Spaceport Boosts UK’s Plans for Satellite Launches

  • Lockheed Martin to develop UK launch operations from Shetland Space Centre on the island of Unst.
  • Orbex and Highlands and Islands Enterprise continue to advance launch plans from Space Hub Sutherland.

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Hundreds of space jobs will be created in Scotland following the approval of plans for Lockheed Martin to transfer its satellite launch operations to Shetland Space Centre by the UK government.

Shetland Space Centre anticipates that by 2024, the spaceport site could support a total of 605 jobs in Scotland including 140 locally and 210 across the wider Shetland region. A further 150 jobs will also be created through wider manufacturing and support services.

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UK and NASA Sign Artemis Accords Ahead of Mission to the Moon

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency) — NASA’s Artemis programme aims to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024. Commercial and international partners will collaborate to achieve a sustainable presence on the lunar surface as a steppingstone to the first human mission to Mars.

The UK will play a key role in this mission. Businesses across the UK will be involved in building the service module and habitation module of the Lunar Gateway, a new space station orbiting the moon, generating economic benefits and high-skilled jobs. The UK has already committed over £16 million for the first phase of the design of these elements.

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UK to Launch New International Space Collaborations

International space projects in robotics, disaster relief and space debris could be among the new pioneering collaborations backed by £5 million of new Government funding.

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Through the Government’s new domestic space fund, the National Space Innovation Programme, the UK Space Agency will fund innovative technologies and services to support UK trade, science, and  security with major space players like Australia, France, Japan and the United States.

Funding – from £250,000 to £2.5 million – will be given to the best international collaborative projects from UK industry, academia and research organisations.

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Take-off for UK-built Supercomputer Nanosatellites

  • Two of the satellites have onboard a supercomputer capable of making hyper-accurate predictions for shipping to support maritime trade

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Four shoebox-sized and government-backed satellites, including two supercomputers, have launched this afternoon (Monday 28 September).

The ‘nanosatellites’, which are built in Glasgow and are no larger than a microwave, have joined a fleet of nearly 100 objects in low Earth orbit that monitor shipping movements, helping predict global trade and making business more cost effective and efficient.

Like mobile phones, satellites are also getting smaller and smarter and nanosatellites are roughly the size of a shoe box. Despite their size, they can do almost everything a conventional satellite does.

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Machine-learning Nanosats to Inform Global Trade

Spire’s machine-learning capable nanosat (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The latest batch of tiny satellites to monitor trade on Earth from space have launched.

The Glaswegian-built nanosatellites join a fleet of about 100 objects in low Earth orbit that help to predict the movement of the world’s resources, so that businesses and governments can make informed decisions.

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ESA Welcomes 6 Tech Start-ups to Business Incubation Program

HARWELL, UK (ESA PR) — ESA is continuing to use space to boost innovation in the UK by welcoming six exciting tech starts-ups to its world-leading business incubation programme.

With the help of the ESA Business Incubation Centre UK (ESA BIC UK), the fledgling companies are working in a wide range of areas to develop game-changing solutions – from augmented reality applications to novel spacecraft propulsion systems.

Routemasters is using space technology to create a planning platform that will support more efficient transport networks in emerging cities, and Sociate AI is developing an artificial intelligence training tool to get the most from Earth observation data for the benefit of British agriculture.

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New UK Space Projects to Boost Global Sustainable Development Receive £3.4 Million Cash Boost

  • UK academics will work on space solutions for world issues from tackling human trafficking and forced labour groups to eliminating malaria by detecting breeding locations of mosquitoes
  • Funding forms part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) which supports cutting-edge research to meet challenges faced by developing countries

Government backs new pioneering space projects that will apply UK expertise to tackling development problems across the globe.

SWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — Today, on World Humanitarian Day, the UK Space Agency has announced £3.4 million of new funding for 10 leading-edge projects that back UK academics using space to tackle global development problems – from the spread of malaria to human trafficking and forced labour.

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UK Scientists to Help NASA Answer the Question, ‘Was There Life on Mars?’

In February 2021, NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover and NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter (shown in an artist’s concept) will be the agency’s two newest explorers on Mars. Both were named by students as part of an essay contest. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Scientists from the UK are playing a vital role in a NASA mission to Mars launched on Thursday, 30 July.

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Backed by the UK Space Agency, researchers at Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum will help the NASA Perseverance rover select Martian rock and soil samples to be brought back from the red planet as it searches for evidence of ancient microbial life.

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UK Commits New Funding to Combat Space Debris

New government funding for innovative solutions to tackle the growing problem of potentially hazardous space debris, has been announced today.

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — There are an estimated 900,000 pieces of space debris larger than 1 cm orbiting the Earth, with only a small proportion of them tracked.

The UK Space Agency is providing up to £1 million for organisations to come up with smart solutions to this problem by using cost effective ways to monitor objects in low Earth Orbit, or applying artificial intelligence to make better use of existing orbital data.

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