UK Business Growth Scheme Open to Next Group of Space Entrepreneurs

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — A pioneering programme to help firms find their place in space has given a total of 31 businesses a £900,000 boost and created new jobs – and the search is now on to find the next group of entrepreneurs.

Twenty businesses will be supported on the next phase of the Leo Programme, a free six-month accelerator run by the UK Space Agency and powered by Entrepreneurial Spark, where they will get access to tailored, specialist online and in-person support from space industry and business growth experts.

The programme is open to businesses already in the space sector and those already exploring the possibilities presented by the industry. Firms working in a linked industry looking for a route into the space sector can also apply.

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ESA Uses Space to Boost 100th UK Start-up Company

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA is expanding its efforts to spark innovation in the UK by enabling a growing number of fledgling firms to transform ambitious space-based ideas into commercial reality. 

Today the ESA Business Incubation Centre UK (ESA BIC UK) welcomed British company Skyfarer, which is developing the UK’s first autonomous drone delivery network for the rapid provision of life-saving medical supplies.

This marks a milestone of 100 start-ups supported by the programme in the decade since its inception.

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D-Orbit Signs Contract with ESA Under the Boost! Commercial Space Transportation Services

The UK branch of the orbital transportation company will focus on logistics coordination and process standardisation between different European spaceports and launcher providers

CORNWALL, UK, July 20th, 2021 (D-Orbit PR) — The UK branch of D-Orbit, a leader in the orbital transportation industry, has announced the signing of a contract with the European Space Agency (ESA) under the Boost! Project with ESA’s Commercial Space Transportation Services and Support Programme.

The Responsive Microlauncher Service, which provides end-to-end delivery of payloads in orbit, is designed to utilise the upcoming small launchers that are due to be launching regularly from UK starting from 2022. The contract will focus on logistics coordination and process standardisation between different European spaceports and launcher providers.

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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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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 Space Technologies to Boost NHS Coronavirus Response

LONDON (UK Government PR) — The UK space industry has some of the brightest minds in the country and is well placed to support the unprecedented national effort to overcome the biggest threat the UK has faced for decades.

Satellite data and drone technology can help meet challenges such as delivering test kits, masks, gowns and goggles, managing infectious disease outbreaks and supporting the health and wellbeing of the nation.

An initial £2.6 million is being made available to fund a number of projects to develop hi-tech solutions to these challenges, in a joint initiative with the European Space Agency (ESA) in support of NHS England.

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UK Space Agency Launches Competition for Business Ideas to Test on Space Station

SWINDON, England (UKSA PR) — British entrepreneurs could have their business ideas tested out on the International Space Station thanks to a new funding contest.

The UK Space Agency will provide funding and the first space flight for the winning concepts, which could be anything from medicines and innovative materials developed in microgravity, to space-flown consumer products.

Matched funding of up to £1 million is available via the UK Space Agency from the European Space Agency’s Business Applications Space Solutions fund. The announcement was made during World Space Week, which runs from 4 to 10 October.

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Reaction Engines to Support Research into UK Spaceport Feasibility

Campbeltown Airport

ABINGDON, England (Reaction Engines PR) — At the UK Space Conference, Science Minister Chris Skidmore and UK Space Agency confirmed a further £1.3 million towards developing spaceport plans in England, Scotland and Wales as part of the government’s spaceflight programme, LaunchUK.

The funding will be shared between three sites around the country and Reaction Engines will play a key role supporting the assessment undertaken by the owners of Machrihanish Airbase company behind one of these sites; the Machrihanish Airbase Community Company (MACC).

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Science Minister Hails ‘Incredible Strength’ of UK Space Industry

Chris Skidmore
  • New funding for UK business ideas to fly to the International Space Station
  • UK Space Agency to support one million STEM interactions with young people.
  • £20 million from government’s  Strategic Priorities Fund to upgrade UK capabilities in space weather modelling and measurement and £1.3 million for horizontal spaceport plans in England, Scotland and Wales.

NEWPORT, Wales (UK Government PR) — A new package of space funding was unveiled by Science Minister Chris Skidmore at the UK Space Conference in Newport today (Tuesday 24 September).

The government is committed to developing the UK’s national space capabilities while stepping up international collaborations, including through the European Space Agency.

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UK, Australian Space Agencies Agree to Develop a World’s First ‘Space Bridge’

NEWPORT, Wales (UK Space Agency PR) — The proposed ‘Space Bridge’, borne out of the highly successful ‘FinTech Bridge’ already in existence between the UK and Australia, will unlock greater collaboration between governments, regulators and industry.

The agreement, announced this morning at the UK Space Conference will further the ambitions set out in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two agencies in October 2018 and lay the foundations for swift and amicable negotiations for space-related opportunities under any potential future UK-Australia trading arrangements.

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Investment Minister Reinforces Support for Trade in Space Sector

Graham Stuart (Credit: Chris McAndrew)
  • Minister for Investment delivers a keynote speech at UK Space Conference in Newport
  • DIT announces support for £100m investment in Leicester Space Park that will create more than 2,500 jobs by 2020
  • Australian-UK Space Bridge to unlock growth and increase innovation in both countries

NEWPORT, Wales (UK Government PR) — On Tuesday, 24 September, the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) Minister for Investment, Graham Stuart, delivered a keynote speech at the UK Space Conference 2019 in Newport, Wales to reinforce the government’s commitment to boosting investment and exports in the UK space sector.

UK space exports are set to grow to £25bn in the next decade, meeting the industry and government target for space exports to make up 60% of the sector’s revenue by 2030.

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Cornwall Council Cabinet to Vote on $14.8 Million for Spaceport

CORNWALL, UK ( Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership PR) — Business and space industry leaders are backing plans to create the UK’s first horizontal launch spaceport in Cornwall.

Spaceport Cornwall would use planes rather than vertical take-off rockets to put satellites into space from Cornwall Airport Newquay as early as next year, in partnership with California-based launch company Virgin Orbit.

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Lease Option Agreed for Space Hub Sutherland

Artist’s impression of a UK spaceport. (Credit: Perfect Circle PV)

INVERNESS, Scotland (Highlands and Islands Enterprise PR) — The owners of land earmarked for the Space Hub Sutherland development on the Moine Peninsula have agreed a lease option with developer, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Representatives of Melness Crofters Estate (MCE) and HIE signed the agreement yesterday (Wednesday 31 July). It secures the option for HIE to lease the land once planning consent for the project has been granted.

HIE is leading the development, with a £2.5m grant from the UK Space Agency (UKSA), which is also funding two launch companies that plan to use the facility.

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Kits Designed to Extract Metals from Moon, Mars Launched to Space Station

The biomining reactors will use bacteria to recover minerals and metals from rocks. (Credit: UK Space Agency)

EDINBURGH, Scotland (UK Space Agency PR) — UK scientists lead international project to build world’s first space rock mining devices which use bacteria to recover minerals from rocks on the Moon and Mars.

Astronauts will test the devices on board the International Space Station, following the successful launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket last night (at 23:01 BST, Thursday 25 July) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral.

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UK Space Agency Teams with O2 on Driverless Cars

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Space Agency is joining forces with mobile communications giant O2 to develop next generation technology needed for driverless cars.

The new Darwin programme aims to test seamless highspeed data connections using 5G and satellites. Next generation telecoms satellites will ensure that vehicles stay connected outside of towns and cities which typically have good mobile signals.

Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) will transform travel with safer, smoother and smarter road journeys through high levels of automation facilitated by being able to communicate with other vehicles and to road infrastructure around them.

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