UK Dumps Idea of Creating Independent Satellite Navigation System

LONDON (UK Government PR) — New options for a UK satellite navigation and timing capability programme to support the nation’s critical infrastructure will be explored by the government, it was announced today (Thursday 24 September).

The Space-Based Positioning Navigation and Timing Programme (SBPP) will explore new and alternative ways that could be used to deliver vital satellite navigation services to the United Kingdom which are critical for the functioning of transport systems, energy networks, mobile communications and national security and defence, whilst boosting the British space industry and developing the UK’s own capabilities in these services.

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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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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 Spaceflight Programme Launches Public Consultation on Spaceflight Regulations

  • Consultation on the rules governing UK spaceflight launches today
  • First ever launch into space could have lift-off by the early 2020s
  • Civil Aviation Authority to become the commercial spaceflight regulator

LONDON (UK Government PR) — The first ever launch into space from British soil is one step closer today (29 July 2020) as Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announces a public consultation on the regulations for the UK’s spaceflight programme.

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UK Space Innovation Programme Launches with £15 Million for Climate Change, Communications Projects

  • The first projects to be funded will use space technology to tackle global issues such as climate change or increase connectivity
  • £5 million of the funding is set aside exclusively for international space projects, to strengthen the UK’s partnerships with space faring nations

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — A new National Space Innovation Programme has launched, with an initial £15 million funding for projects related to Earth observation, communications and international partnerships.

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UK at the Forefront of Space Exploration with Biomining Experiment

BioAsteroid (Credit: University of Edinburgh)

EDINBURGH (UK Space Agency PR) — UK scientists are experimenting in space to investigate the effects of microbes on asteroidal material in space under microgravity conditions.

BioAsteroid, a biomining experiment, uses a collection of 12 automatic culturing devices fitted with a layer of material on which the bacteria will be grown in the KUBIK ISS incubator for 3 weeks.

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New Funding Call for UK Earth Observation Sector

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — More than £800,000 [$983,000] is available to the UK space sector as part of European Space Agency (ESA) support for innovative commercial projects related to Earth Observation.

The programme, InCubed, aims to support industry-led initiatives that will open new market opportunities. The call will bring innovative systems and products to market faster and help Earth Observation businesses compete in the global marketplace.

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New US-UK Agreement Boosts UK’s Spaceport Plans

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK and US governments have signed a new agreement paving the way for US companies to operate from UK spaceports and export space launch technology.

UK Ambassador Dame Karen Pierce and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-proliferation, Christopher Ford, signed the US-UK Technology Safeguards Agreement, which will enable U.S. companies to participate in space launches from the United Kingdom, on Tuesday 16 June 2020.

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Major Space Agency Heads Hold Virtual Meeting

Translated from French by Google Translate

PARIS (CNES PR) — Tuesday, June 9, fifteen heads of space agencies from around the world (European Space Agency (ESA), Germany, Australia, Canada, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, France, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, News – Zealand, Russia, United Kingdom) participated, at the invitation of NASA, in a virtual meeting to exchange their points of view on the progress of human and robotic exploration. 

Because of COVID-19, this meeting could not be held, as every year, at the time of the Colorado Springs Space Symposium initially scheduled for the end of March. 

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Scottish Solar Panel to Fly on UK Space Launch

Solar panel (Credit: Clyde Space)

Glasgow-based AAC Clyde Space will manufacture a new solar panel for space vehicles launched from UK vertical spaceports.

GLASGOW (UK Space Agency PR) — AAC Clyde Space played an integral role in Glasgow’s emergence as a global hub for satellite manufacturing and built the UK Space Agency’s first national satellite, which was launched in 2014. The company’s expertise in space systems will now play a vital role in supporting the UK’s plans to become Europe’s leading small satellite launch destination.

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NASA-CNES Surface Water Mission Remains on Cost, Schedule

SWOT satellite (Credit: NASA JPL)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A Franco-American mission to measure global surface water levels from space continues to hold to its budget and an April 2022 launch date despite the late arrival of its main scientific instrument, according to a new assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The $754.9 million Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission had been working toward a September 2021 launch date, which would have been seven months ahead of schedule.

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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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