Investment to boost pioneering space technologies has been announced by the UK Space Agency, with the first wave of recipients unveiled.
The space experts will collaborate with global organisations to advance space capabilities through new tech innovation, thanks to the International Bilateral Fund (IBF). It will become the agency’s first fund wholly dedicated to international relationship building to advance the UK’s space goals.
With the involvement of 32 partnerships, the fund will enable organisations in the UK to connect with countries including the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, India, Singapore and South Africa to boost space research and new tech investment.
What type of space projects will receive the funding?
Some projects will focus on enhancing relationships to unlock future economic opportunities for the UK, while others will study science missions and technologies with strong commercial potential.
UK-based Vertical Future is leading one project that will see it join forces with Axiom Space, Saber Astronautics, Cambridge University and the University of Adelaide to kick-start the development of a revolutionary autonomous controlled environment for plant growth to support space missions.
The bilateral partnerships will not only bolster UK space sector capabilities by utilising global expertise, but they will ensure the UK, along with its world-leading scientists, will continue to play a key role in developing a diverse, collaborative global space sector that benefits the world for future generations.
Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “Working with other space agencies and organisations across the globe through our International Bilateral Fund allows us to draw on skills that enhance our homegrown expertise and capabilities, drive up investment in the UK, and support world-class science and discovery.
“Projects such as these highlight the many ways in which we can collaborate with the global space community to help humanity push the boundaries of space innovation and unlock commercial opportunities that will benefit our economy now and in the future.”
Lizzie Kerr, Director of UKspace, said: “UKspace welcomes the announcement of the first projects funded under the UK Space Agency’s International Bilateral Fund. International collaboration underpins the success of the UK’s space sector – and this new programme is an important new route to unlock new international partnerships, benefitting companies overseas and here in the UK.”
The list of projects, each receiving up to £75,000, includes:
University of Surrey, University of Southampton, University of Portsmouth, Surrey Satellite Technology and Twin Paradox Labs x Office for Space Technology and Industry [OSTIn] (Singapore) for understanding satellite collaborations on air pollution monitoring and atmospheric weather forecasting
Strathclyde University x University of Arizona and MIT (USA), University of Waterloo and Columbiad Launch Services Inc (Canada) for AI involving space safety and sustainability
Rolls-Royce x BWXT Advanced Technologies LLC (USA), for international collaboration on industrial research into novel space nuclear technology development
Frontier Space Technologies Ltd x The Exploration Company (Germany) for in-orbit biopharma research and development
Seraphim Space Camp Accelerator Ltd x Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd, Temasek Holdings, OSTIn, Enterprise Singapore and SG Innovate (Singapore) for Seraphim Space Accelerator’s expansion into Asia
Telespazio UK x Symbios Communications, National Physical Laboratory (Australia) for developing a new quality assurance platform for Earth Observation (EO) data
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, Assimila, RALSpace x CSIRO Space and Astronomy and Smartsat CRC (Australia) for creation of an integrated ground-to-space national water quality monitoring system
Assimila Biosecurity Ltd x Cervantes Agritech Pty Ltd and CABI (Australia) for using Earth Observation (EO), climate and weather data to predict and manage biosecurity risks
The Open University x Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona and Ball Aerospace and Technologies (USA) to use UK detector technology for future NASA high-resolution imaging of the Moon and Mars
If you work in the space-based green tech sector, we welcome your opinion and conversation surrounding this fresh funding. Investment and collaboration are the key drivers to innovations to protect the planet against the challenges it currently faces and we are excited to see the fruits of this fund’s labour.