Westminster has announced that three Scottish space projects are to split £850,000 to help launch Britain’s space sector.
The UK Space Agency says that the money will go to “high-risk, high-reward projects” in the UK and will support companies and universities “with radical ideas for how we tackle climate change”.
Ideas include Earth Observation, addressing satellite communications challenges, providing greater connectivity to remote places and increasing the efficiency of our homes.
As part of the 21 organisations set to receive the money, two projects from the University of Edinburgh and one from a Glasgow based firm will use their share for telecommunications tech, space-borne lidar systems and data handling tech to combat climate change.
The University’s SlipStream project will receive £214,543, while their GLAMIS project and Glasgow-based Craft Prospect’s ROKS payload flight model take £289,920 and £345,433 respectively.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway commented: “We want the UK to be a world leader in space technology which is why we are supporting our most ambitious innovators who are developing first-of-a-kind technologies to help solve some of our greatest challenges.
“From slashing carbon emissions to protecting the UK’s critical services from harmful cyber-attacks, today’s funding will unshackle our most entrepreneurial space scientists so that they can transfer their revolutionary ideas into world-class products and services while helping to boost the UK economy.”
Funding comes from the UK Space Agency’s National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP) which hopes to allow Britain to compete internationally with countries like France and Germany, which have dedicated national funding for space.
Commenting on the funding, Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “Space technologies have become deeply embedded in, and critical to, almost every aspect of our daily lives. With rapid technological innovation, space offers a broad and growing range of opportunities to support economic activity and protect the environment.
“From the satellites connecting our calls to the ones that tell us when to expect rain when we step outside, space technologies are fundamental to our day-to-day lives.
“Our space sector is constantly advancing and welcoming new ideas, and through this funding, we are championing the best of this British innovation.”
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The funding is another boost for Scotland’s space sector, adding to several positive announcements within the last few years.
Scottish firms such as Edinburgh-based Skyrora are already paving the way towards building the country’s space sector, with several big announcements in 2020.
Skyrora announced two major successes this year, not only with Britain’s first rocket test launch in more than 50 years but also with the announcement of a new rocket test facility which will create 170 jobs and stamp Scotland as major space player on the world stage.
The Scottish space sector has already been promised a funding boost through Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending review announced in November, as well as recent research by Scottish Enterprise indicating that income from the sectors could reach over £2 billion by 2030, as well as contribute data solutions to combat climate change.