Press release: New funding to boost space sector growth across the UK

UK Space Agency

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), one of the nation's leading satellite manufacturers, has won a project from the UK Space Agency's flagship Space Clusters Infrastructure Fund (SCIF).  

The ?250,000 public investment, matched by the company, will enhance SSTL's facilities with a Research and Development Imager Cleanroom in Guildford. This will support the development of cutting-edge, space-based imaging technology ? the ?eyes' of satellites that monitor our planet and the space environment.  

SCIF, which has awarded ?47 million to date, for projects ranging from a space skills centre in Newcastle to a microgravity research centre in Cardiff, builds upon the UK Space Agency's wider investments to develop the UK space ecosystem.  

As set out in the Space Industrial Plan, the government is committed to continuing its support for space clusters across the UK and providing the tools needed to drive collaboration between them and catalyse further investment. 

Minister for Space, Andrew Griffith said: 

Our ?250,000 investment in Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd underlines the key role this government sees for UK businesses in advancing global space capabilities." 

Aligned with our new Space Industrial Plan, this funding will enhance SSTL's research facilities so it can drive forward innovation in cutting-edge imaging technology, which is so crucial for satellite operations.

Philip Brownnett, Managing Director of SSTL, said:  

We're pleased to have been selected by the UK Space Agency for the Space Cluster Infrastructure Fund. By enhancing our optical Research and Development Cleanroom Facility, the new project will help address the growing need for space-based imaging equipment for a wide range of commercial, defence and governmental customers. This will give a real boost to cutting-edge research into space imaging technology carried out in the UK.

The UK Space Agency is announcing a total of ?500,000 for a further 5 projects today to foster collaboration between the UK's network of space clusters:  

Uniting Space Hub Yorkshire, the North West Space Cluster, and Space North East England to showcase the region's resilient communications expertise, attract inward investment and boost research and collaboration.  

Bringing together regional space and agricultural sectors in Scotland and the East of England to explore challenge-based opportunities through space capability research and knowledge-sharing. 

Building on the strengths of Space West, the Cornwall Space Cluster, the West of England Combined Authority, Cornwall Council and Invest Bristol & Bath, this pan-regional partnership aims to promote the region's space capability, attract international investment and develop strategic collaborations.  

Strengthening ties between the North West Space Cluster and Midlands Space Cluster, and their respective supply chains, to seize commercial opportunities in novel power systems for deep space applications.  

Leveraging Earth observation capabilities within NI Space, Space Wales and the Space East clusters to monitor water bodies for harmful algal blooms and seaweed production, improving delivery of local government services using space assets and data. 

Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:  

With entrepreneurs and businesses from across the UK space sector at Space-Comm Expo, I'm pleased to announce this series of targeted projects to support the continued growth of our space ecosystem and deliver on the government's Space Industrial Plan.  

Hot off the heels of the Chancellor's Budget boost for Low-Earth Orbit satellite manufacturing in the UK, these new projects will help catalyse investment, increase collaboration and boost prosperity across the country.

In yesterday's Spring Budget 2024, the Chancellor announced the launch of the full Connectivity in Low Earth Orbit (C-LEO) programme, building on the initial ?15 million C-LEO call that was announced at the Autumn Statement.

This programme of up to ?160 million over the next 4 years will unleash the country's potential to become a global leader in next generation satellite communication technologies while creating hundreds of highly skilled jobs to boost the Prime Minister's priority of growing our economy. This will ensure that the UK space sector is able to compete in the rapidly growing global market of LEO constellations. 

The government will also make available ?10 million of funding to SaxaVord Spaceport to support orbital launch in 2024, subject to due diligence. 

The UK Space Agency funds a wide range of projects to catalyse investment, deliver new missions and capabilities, and champion space. Recent announcements include:

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Published: 2024-04-03 05:54