LONDON (UKSA PR) — Affordable worldwide internet coverage is one step closer today, after £18 million [$23.5 million] of UK Space Agency funding was awarded to OneWeb through the European Space Agency, to aid the development of its next generation satellite constellation.
A global communications network in space, the system will be comprised of approximately 650 satellites initially and scale to more than 900 satellites over time.
Science Minister Chris Skidmore is visiting the European Space Agency in the Netherlands today. He will say:
Fast internet access is something many people take for granted but in many areas of the world connectivity is still hit and miss.
This new £18m investment will go towards meeting the significant technical challenges of the project, putting the UK at the forefront of cutting-edge research and development.
The commercial potential for a cost effective worldwide telecoms satellite system is huge, and the UK space sector is playing a leading role in delivering it. It is made possible by our ongoing commitment to the European Space Agency and our world-leading capabilities in space and telecommunications, which we are supporting through our modern Industrial Strategy.
STEVENAGE, UK, February 7, 2019 (UKSA PR) — The UK made ExoMars rover, due to roam the surface of the red planet in 2021, has been named after UK scientist and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA – Rosalind Franklin.
The name was revealed this morning by Science Minister Chris Skidmore and British European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut Tim Peake in the ‘Mars Yard’ at Airbus Defence and Space UK in Stevenage, where the rover is being built.
Chris Skidmore, UK Science Minister said:
“It is a tremendously fitting tribute that the rover has been named after Rosalind Franklin as she helped us understand life on Earth and now her namesake will do the same on Mars.
“Just as Rosalind Franklin overcame many obstacles during her career, I hope ‘Rosalind the rover’ will successfully persevere in this exciting adventure, inspiring generations of female scientists and engineers to come.
“This is a big moment for British science and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are embracing this moment as part of our ambition to be the world’s most innovative economy, creating opportunities for business through science.”
LONDON (UK Government PR) — The UK’s space sector has seen significant growth in income, exports and employment with total income now standing at £14.8 billion [$19.4 billion], Science Minister Chris Skidmore announced today.
PARIS (ESA PR) — Robots invaded the Sahara Desert for Europe’s largest rover field test, taking place in a Mars-like part of Morocco. For two weeks three rovers and more than 40 engineers tested automated navigation systems at up to five different sites.
This marked the end of the first phase of the strategic research cluster on space robotics technologies, a scheme funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.
The BBC reports a group named Protect The Mhoine (PTM) has formed to oppose plans to construct a spaceport on the Moine peninsula in Sutherland.
Its members’ concerns include the boundary of the spaceport’s exclusion zone being only a few hundred metres from their property, and also the handling of consultation on the project.Under the proposals, satellites launched from Sutherland would fly from north to south….
Chairman John William told BBC Scotland: “We think that drawbacks of building a spaceport on the Moine are far more serious and longer lasting than any possible benefits.
“The benefits are claimed to be 40 jobs in the area and perhaps 400 jobs worldwide. Those are tentative numbers.
“What is certain is if you destroy a peatlands area by putting roads across it, concrete in it and rockets on it the damage will last for hundreds or thousands of years.”
FARNBOROUGH, UK — 20 July 2018 (ESA PR) — The UK Space Agency has launched a competition to name a rover that is going to Mars to search for signs of life.Due to launch in 2020, the UK-built rover is part of ESA’s ExoMars mission. It will investigate how Mars has evolved and whether there may be conditions for life.
The ExoMars rover will be the first of its kind to travel across the martian surface and drill down to determine if evidence of life is buried underground, protected from the Sun’s radiation that bombards the surface of the ‘Red Planet’.
FARNBOROUGH, UK (UKSA PR) — Lockheed Martin and Orbex are investing in space launch operations and bringing innovative new technology to Britain, Business Secretary Greg Clark announced today (Monday 16 July) during the Farnborough International Airshow.
Lockheed Martin to establish vertical launch operations in Sutherland, Scotland and develop innovative technologies in Reading, Berkshire with support from two UK Space Agency grants totalling £23.5 million
A further £5.5 million will go to British company Orbex to build an innovative new rocket for launch from Sutherland, as part of Government’s modern Industrial Strategy
This builds on awards of £2.5m to Highlands and Islands Enterprise to develop a vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland and a £2m development fund for horizontal spaceports such as those planned in Cornwall, Glasgow Prestwick and Snowdonia
Government support for launch is the first step towards a potential Space Sector Deal and the development of a national space programme
Farnborough, UK, July 16, 2018 (Orbex PR) — Orbex has announced that it has secured £30 million ($39.6 million) in public and private funding for the development of orbital space launch systems. Orbex will launch orbital vehicles from the newly-announced UK Vertical Launch spaceport in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands as part of the main consortium.
FARNBOROUGH, England, July 16, 2018 (Northrop Grumman PR) — The UK Space Agency has selected Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) to help implement its vision for the UK Spaceflight Programme, an innovative initiative to create a world-leading commercial launch market that grows the UK economy through regular, reliable and responsible access to space.
Industrial Strategy funding awarded to proposed vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland, Scotland
Horizontal launch sites such as those planned in Cornwall, Glasgow Prestwick and Snowdonia to be boosted by new £2 million development fund
Commercial vertical and horizontal launch demand is worth a potential £3.8 billion to the UK economy over the next decade and will support further growth of Britain’s space sector
Additional grants to be announced at next week’s Farnborough International Airshow will see leading commercial spaceflight operators launching from Sutherland
SWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — The UK Space Agency has selected the first vertical launch site in Sutherland on the north coast of Scotland and is making available a new £2 million fund to boost horizontal spaceport development across Britain, Business Secretary Greg Clark will announce today (Monday 16 July).
A Franco-American mission that will conduct a global survey of the Earth’s surface water is moving toward launching a year earlier than planned despite encountering technical challenges and and workforce shortages, according to an assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite “will use its wide-swath radar altimetry technology to take repeated high-resolution measurements of the world’s oceans and freshwater bodies to develop a global survey,” the report stated.
SWINDON, UK (UKSA PR) — The UK Government has confirmed today it is developing options for a British Global Navigation Satellite System.
Led by the UK Space Agency, a task force of Government specialists and industry will work quickly to develop options that will provide both civilian and encrypted signals and be compatible with the GPS system.
The UK is already a world-leader in developing satellite technology, building 40 per cent of the world’s small satellites and one in four commercial telecommunications satellites.
UK companies have made a critical contribution to the EU Galileo programme, building the payloads for the satellites and developing security systems. The task force will draw on this experience and expertise as it develops plans for an innovative system that could deliver on the UK’s security needs and provide commercial services.
SWINDON, England (UKSA PR) — A multi-million pound European mission to study newly discovered planets will be led by University College London, supported by investment from the UK Space Agency.
The ARIEL (Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey) mission was selected today as the next European Space Agency (ESA) science mission, putting UK leadership at the heart of research into planets that lie outside our solar system – exoplanets.
Thousands of exoplanets have now been discovered with a huge diversity of masses, sizes and orbits, but very little is known about their chemical composition, formation, or their evolutionary links to their host stars.