UK Space fund to help develop satellite technologies and data
Tue 13 Sep 2016
The UK Space Agency has announced a new £2 million fund to support the domestic development of space and satellite technologies, and to open an online platform for the sharing of observation data.
The initiative, announced in today’s release, hopes to advance the UK’s position as a leader in the Earth observation sector, and inform research around global challenges such as deforestation and natural disasters.
The £2 million programme will see UK businesses and universities work together to develop innovative technologies to explore Earth and space. Supported by the University of Leicester, Airbus Defence, Space UK, and RAL Space, leading organisations will help the participating companies and researchers in developing the new technologies and applying for wider government support.
A new online portal, named Sentinel Data Access Service (SEDAS), will also allow companies, policy makers, academics and members of the public to access real-time, high-quality satellite data. By helping users understand what data is available to them, how to access it, and how to use it, the project hopes to encourage the use of satellites in evidence-based decision making, information gathering, and environmental monitoring.
Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, noted that the UK is already a world-leader in the field of satellite and observation technologies. He suggested that the new investment and data tools would be a particular boost for helping the UK maintain a competitive edge, especially in the design, development and build of spacecraft.
‘The data portal will…help a wide range of businesses and academics track changes to earth’s landscape so we can learn how to deal with coastal erosion, prepare for natural disasters like earthquakes and monitor crop harvests to improve food security around the world,’ Johnson continued.
This latest announcement marks the next stage in the government’s National Space Policy, which is aiming to place the UK as a European hub for commercial space technologies. According to the Policy, the space industry is worth £11.8 billion to the UK economy and has the potential to support 100,000 new jobs and generate £40 billion for the country by 2030.