UK Space Agency to Provide Funds to Make Space Safer

This GIF is part of a longer animation showing different types of space debris objects and different debris sizes in orbit around Earth. For debris objects bigger than 10 cm the data comes from the US Space Surveillance Catalogue. The information about debris objects smaller than 10 cm is based on a statistical model from ESA. (Credit: ESA)

UK companies and research organisations can bid for funding to develop technologies or data processing capabilities to reduce the risks of collisions in space

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — One of the biggest challenges facing the space sector is orbital congestion and space debris. There are currently around 3,000 working satellites in orbit, and an estimated 130 million other pieces of debris, including old satellites, spent rocket bodies and even tools dropped by astronauts.

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International Partners and Government Agencies Join Arqit’s Federated Quantum System

The Federated Quantum System developed and launched in the UK with support from the UK Space Agency

CORNWALL, UK, 11 June 2021 (Arqit PR) – Arqit Limited (“Arqit”), a leader in quantum encryption technology, has today announced at the G7 Leaders Conference in Cornwall, that it has formed an international consortium of companies and government organisations to provide its quantum encryption technology to government customers in a federated system concept, called Federated Quantum System (FQS). The UK, USA, Japan, Canada, Italy, Belgium, and Austria are now represented.

Arqit invented a system which uses satellites to distribute quantum keys to data centres. These keys are delivered using a new patented protocol called ARQ19, which solves the “Global versus Trustless” problem which previously prevented the adoption of Satellite Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). Arqit further invented a method, called QuantumCloud™ to translate the benefits of this quantum key distribution to any form of endpoint or cloud machine without the need for any special hardware. The first version of QuantumCloudTM launches for live service to commercial customers in 2021.

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Paul Bate Appointed as UK Space Agency CEO

Paul Bate (Credit: UK Space Agency)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Science Minister Amanda Solloway has approved the appointment of Dr Paul Bate as CEO of the UK Space Agency, with a mission to continue the success of a sector that will play an increasingly vital role in the UK economy.

The new appointment underlines ambitions by the UK government to boost the commercial and scientific contribution of the £16.4 billion UK space industry, and ensure that innovation in space benefits everyone as we build back better.

Paul is currently Vice President, Commercial at Babylon Health, working with healthcare organisations in the NHS and across the world. Prior to Babylon, he was the Executive Director of Strategy and Intelligence at the Care Quality Commission.

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More than 3,000 Jobs Created as Space Sector Grows Across the UK

Findings from the latest ‘Size and Health of the UK Space Industry’ report reveal a growth in jobs and income

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK’s space sector has seen growth in jobs and income while investing more in research and development, leaving it well-placed to grow strongly as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, Science Minister Amanda Solloway announced today.

Findings from the latest ‘Size and Health of the UK Space Industry’ report, commissioned by the UK Space Agency and delivered by know.space, show the sector supports a highly skilled and productive workforce that’s growing across the country.

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UK Space Sector Receives £1 Million Government Boost to Support International Innovation

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Five new projects have been awarded a share of over £1 million [$1.38 million] of government funding to work with international partners on innovative space technology.

Projects to remotely probe ice on Mars to help explorers find life below the surface, a system to warn of impacts of flood risks to infrastructure based on research in India and a scheme to design UK imaging technology for a space telescope are among the new international initiatives to receive backing from the UK Space Agency’s National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP).

The funding will see UK companies and organisations working with partners such as NASA, and space agencies from Canada, Japan and Italy. NSIP is the first fund dedicated to supporting the UK space sector’s innovation through collaborations with international partners designed to contribute to UK science, security and prosperity.

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UK Space Agency CEO to Step Down

Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, has announced he will leave his role in 2021

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Following a 4-year term leading the Agency, which delivers the UK’s civil space programme, Graham will step down from his position this year.

Recruitment for his successor will begin soon, and an announcement will be made in due course.

Graham said:

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Rolls-Royce and UK Space Agency Launch Study into Nuclear-powered Space Exploration

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Space Agency and Rolls-Royce are joining forces for a unique study into how nuclear power and technologies could be used as part of space exploration.

This new research contract will see planetary scientists work together to explore the game-changing potential of nuclear power as a more plentiful source of energy, capable of making possible deeper space exploration in the decades to come.

Nuclear propulsion, which would involve channelling the immense energy released in splitting the atom to accelerate propellants, like hydrogen, at huge speeds, has the potential to revolutionise space travel.

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Government Funds UK Companies at the Forefront of Space Innovation

21 UK organisations have been awarded a share of over £7 million of funding to put the UK at the forefront of the latest advances in space innovation

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — 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 UK’s 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.

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10 New Satellites to be Built in Glasgow as Part of New Innovative Constellation Service

10 new government-backed satellites the size of a shoebox are going to be built in Scotland after a signing between AAC Clyde Space UK and ESA

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — AAC Clyde manufacture a range of small satellites, ranging from 1kg to 50kg in weight, and offer space-as-a-service, which is an end-to-end mission service covering everything from mission design, launch and satellite operations to data delivery for companies including; Orbcomm, NSLComm, Eutelsat, Orbital Micro Systems, NASA and ESA.

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AAC Clyde Space to Develop Innovative Constellation Services with ESA, UK Space Agency

UPPSALA, Sweden (AAC Clyde Space PR) — AAC Clyde Space embarks on a 3-year project, named xSPANCION, with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop an innovative satellite constellation service, including the manufacturing of 10 spacecrafts. The UK Space Agency through ESA, will co-fund the project with 9.9 MEUR (approx. 101.4 MSEK). AAC Clyde Space intends to, outside this project, enter into customer service agreements for data delivery from the constellation.

During the first phase of the project running until mid-2021, AAC Clyde Space will deliver a preliminary design for its next generation space as a service offering. The value of this first phase is 1.8 MEUR (approx. 18.4 MSEK) of which 0.9 MEUR (approx. 9.2 MSEK) will be co-funded by UK Space Agency through ESA, providing sufficient resources to achieve comfortably this part of the project. The co-funding from UK Space Agency will be recognized as revenue with no net margin since AAC Clyde Space and partners will co-fund the remaining 0.9 MEUR (approx. 9.2 MEUR).

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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 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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Government Backs UK Companies Tackling Dangerous Space Junk

Distribution of space debris around Earth (Credit: ESA)

Seven UK companies have been awarded a share of over £1 million [$1.3 million] to help track debris in space

  • Currently there are approximately 160 million objects in orbit – mainly debris – which could collide with satellites vital to services we use every day
  • UK Space Agency and Ministry of Defence sign formal agreement to work together on monitoring threats and hazards in orbit

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) –Seven pioneering projects which will develop new sensor technology or artificial intelligence to monitor hazardous space debris, have been announced today by the UK Space Agency.

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UK-built Nanosatellites Ready for Launch

Four shoebox-sized, British-funded satellites will join a global fleet in orbit in the next two months

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Government-backed ‘nanosatellites’ – built in Glasgow – will launch later this month, joining a fleet of more than 100 objects in low Earth orbit that predict global trade movements.

Two of four nanosatellites, made by Spire Global UK and backed by over £6 million of Government investment, will take off on the Russian Soyuz launcher on 24 September. The other two nanosatellites will be aboard an Indian PSLV launcher, due for launch on 1 November.

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UK Space Sector Working Together on Response to Coronavirus

LONDON (UK Government PR) — The Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency and the President and Chair of the UKspace trade body met virtually last week to discuss the space sector’s response to Covid-19.

The UK space sector employs 42,000 people and generates an income of £14.8 billion each year, while supporting £300 billion of wider economic activity through other industries with satellite services such as navigation, communications and Earth observation. Space is part of the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure and has in-built resilience due to the autonomous nature of many orbital operations, the relatively low number of specialist staff required for ongoing operations, and multiple contingencies.

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