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£6million boost for UK space technology industry

£6million boost for UK space technology industry. Image courtesy of SSTL.

The government is to grant nearly £6million to co fund major new British research that will develop commercial products and services using space technology and data from space based systems.

The grant funding, which forms part of the National Space Technology Programme from the UK Space Agency and the Technology Strategy Board, will support four major R&D consortium projects to be led by Astrium, Avanti Communications, DMC International Imaging and Surrey Satellite Technology.

The total value of the R&D, including contributions from the participating companies, is said to be more than £11.5million. The portfolio of projects includes participation by 21 partner companies, universities and research organisations, including seven SMEs.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: "The UK space industry supports thousands of high tech jobs in the UK and is an important driver of economic growth. This £6million investment will build on that success by helping some of the most innovative British businesses develop highly commercial, cutting edge space technology that will be in demand in a growing global market."

The four projects will begin the development of the Next Generation Telecommunications satellite platform; develop a ruggedised and lightweight portable Ka-Band satcom terminal; prepare the way for the planned UK NovaSAR Synthetic aperture radar mission; and develop a system and service for measuring land carbon stocks and fluxes from Satellite Earth observation data.

Dr David Williams, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, commented: "These initial major projects springing out of the National Space Technology Programme are great examples of innovative and ambitious R&D in the UK space sector. By investing in these projects, we are securing our future national capability across the range of vital applications and services that space technology can provide."

Laura Hopperton

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