SSTL Lunar to Lead Consortium for ESA Moonlight

GUILDFORD, UK (Surrey Satellite PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to lead a Phase A/B1 Study under ESA’s Moonlight initiative that will shape the service provision and infrastructure to provide sustainable commercial Lunar data-relay services for communication and navigation around the Moon.

The Moonlight Phase A/B1 Study will define the service infrastructure and clearly lay out the development path for a constellation of Lunar communication and navigation satellites. The Study will characterise the complete end to end system, including the Lunar Space Segment, the Moon Surface Segment, the Lunar User Segment and the Earth Ground Segment.

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OneWeb Launches 2021 Innovation Challenge to Identify New Ideas and Collaboration for Innovation in Space

  • Invites industrial and engineering partners, academia, and research professionals across sectors to present proposals to innovate a new generation of satellites.
  • The successful entrants will receive the opportunity to work on OneWeb’s satellite programme and drive the future of space communications.

LONDON, 23 April 2021 (OneWeb PR) — OneWeb, the global communications network powered from space, today announced the launch of its first Innovation Challengean invitation to find innovative technologies, products and solutions, that will advance the world of satellite connectivity and spaced-based communications.

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From Monitoring Climate Change to Avoiding Space Debris – Pioneering Space Technology Gets UK Government Cash Boost

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Five UK organisations have been awarded a total of £300,000 [$416,884] from the UK Space Agency to speed up the development of innovative space technology.

Recipients include the University of Leeds, which will develop 3D printing methods and liquid-crystal technology, similar to that in our television screens at home, to develop far-infrared sensors for studying climate change and star formation.

Another project, led by Rocket Engineering in London, will create a compact propulsion system the size of a house brick for use in nano and small satellites. The engines use electromagnets to enable the satellites to move for in-orbit spacecraft servicing or space debris mitigation.

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Space Launch from British Soil One Step Closer

Sutherland launch complex. (Credit: HIE)
  • government on course to legislate for UK spaceflight by the end of this year
  • first-ever launch into space from British soil could have lift-off in the early 2020s
  • UK spaceflight plans would create high-skilled jobs in an industry worth £14.8 billion, as we build back better from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

LONDON, March 5, 2021 (UK Department for Transport PR) — A giant leap in British spaceflight history is being made today (5 March 2021) as the government publishes its commercial spaceflight consultation response, paving the way for space launches from UK soil.

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Was There Life on Mars? UK Scientists Play Key Part in NASA Mission to Red Planet

Panorama of Perseverance Rover’s landing site on Mars. (Credit: NASA)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — After a seven-month journey, NASA’s car-sized Mars Perseverance rover will make its final descent to the Red Planet to begin its search for traces of life.

The rover’s mission – backed by the UK government – is to explore and collect samples for future return to Earth from diverse ancient environments on Mars. Supported by over £400,000 in funds from the UK Space Agency, researchers at Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum will help to decide which samples are sent to Earth in a search for evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars.

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UK Space Agency CEO to Step Down

Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, has announced he will leave his role in 2021

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Following a 4-year term leading the Agency, which delivers the UK’s civil space programme, Graham will step down from his position this year.

Recruitment for his successor will begin soon, and an announcement will be made in due course.

Graham said:

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Rolls-Royce and UK Space Agency Launch Study into Nuclear-powered Space Exploration

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Space Agency and Rolls-Royce are joining forces for a unique study into how nuclear power and technologies could be used as part of space exploration.

This new research contract will see planetary scientists work together to explore the game-changing potential of nuclear power as a more plentiful source of energy, capable of making possible deeper space exploration in the decades to come.

Nuclear propulsion, which would involve channelling the immense energy released in splitting the atom to accelerate propellants, like hydrogen, at huge speeds, has the potential to revolutionise space travel.

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New Funding for Innovative Space Tech to Help Solve Problems on Earth

Space tech to make buildings more efficient, reduce ship carbon emissions and help preserve historical sites are among new projects receiving government funding.

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Through the UK Space Agency, the government is giving a cash injection to 5 projects specifically designed to bring together UK business expertise with universities to help build space solutions to global problems, on UK soil.

One of the projects, involving the University of Southampton, will use artificial intelligence to automatically detect buried archaeological remains on satellite imagery, providing construction companies with higher accuracy at an earlier stage. This will save them time and money during the planning permission process and help them to reduce their carbon footprint.

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Government Funds UK Companies at the Forefront of Space Innovation

21 UK organisations have been awarded a share of over £7 million of funding to put the UK at the forefront of the latest advances in space innovation

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The cash injection is going to high-risk, high-reward projects that support companies and universities with radical ideas for how we tackle climate change through Earth Observation or address satellite communications challenges, from providing greater connectivity to remote places to increasing the efficiency of our homes.

Projects set for the cash boost include The Open University who will use the money to create the UK’s first Precision Forestry tool, TreeView, which will support efforts to tackle the climate emergency through detailed measurement of tree-planting initiatives aimed at increasing carbon dioxide removal.

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Orbex Secures $24 Million Funding Round for UK Space Launch

Prime launch vehicle (Credit: Orbex)
  • New funding secures roadmap to first launch from Sutherland spaceport in Scotland
  • Orbex is 1st UK space-sector company to win prestigious Horizon 2020 funding

Forres, UK, 10th December 2020 – Orbex, the innovative European space launch company, has secured $24 million in a funding round led by BGF, the UK’s most active investment company, and Octopus Ventures, one of the largest VCs in Europe.

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UK Government-backed 5G Facility to be Built in Oxfordshire

UK businesses will be able to tap into the potential of 5G and satellite technology as a new testing facility is being created.

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The engineering hub, set to be built by the IT and business consultancy CGI in ESA-ECSAT at the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire, is being backed by over £3 million of government investment and due for completion in 2021.

Providing a base for UK researchers and businesses to experiment, the new 5G hub – eventually planned to extend across the entire Harwell campus – will provide a testing facility that can show the benefits of hybrid 5G and satellite communications networks. The hope is that once the technology is demonstrated the techniques can be rolled out to other businesses across the UK.

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UK Government Commissions Space Solar Power Stations Research

Artist’s impression of how a space-based solar power station might work. (Credit: Frazer-Nash Consultancy)

Solar energy harvested in space offers the potential for an unlimited and constant zero carbon power source

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK government has commissioned new research into space-based solar power (SBSP) systems that would use very large solar power satellites to collect solar energy, convert it into high-frequency radio waves, and safely beam it back to ground-based receivers connected to the electrical power grid.

It is an idea first conjured by science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov in 1941, and is now being studied by several nations because the lightweight solar panels and wireless power transmission technology is advancing rapidly. This, together with lower cost commercial space launch, may make the concept of solar power satellites more feasible and economically viable.

Now the UK in 2020 will explore whether this renewable technology could offer a resilient, safe and sustainable energy source.

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UK to Play Critical Role in Building ‘the Claw’ – the First Satellite to Remove Space Junk

ClearSpace-1 mission (Credit: ClearSpace)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Vital technology for the first ever mission to remove a piece of debris from space is going to be built in the UK, the Science Minister has announced.

Planned for 2025, Clearspace-1 is the first ever space mission dedicated to removing an existing object in orbit, and is a significant first step towards a cleaner space environment. The Clearspace-1 satellite – dubbed ‘The Claw’ – will use a pincer motion to collect debris, before giving it a controlled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere – allowing it to decompose safely and away from life.

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AstroAgency and Scottish Space Leadership Council Secure Space Agency Funding

EDINBURGH (AstroAgency PR)) — A strategic marketing firm working exclusively across the international space sector has been awarded a development grant from the UK Space Agency to establish a space hub on behalf of the Scottish Space Leadership Council (SSLC).

International space start-up AstroAgency will use the financial support to advance the SSLC into a formalised entity, with the ultimate aim of connecting and promoting Scotland’s fast-growing space ecosystem nationally and internationally.

Established by industry experts, the space intelligence and marketing firm has grown to 12 staff in its first year, securing a long list of high profile and established global space clients and new entrants looking to transition into the sector.

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Government Unveils New Support for UK Space Hubs

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Government has backed the development of new ‘space hubs’ across England, as well as funding to support projects in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Each area, dubbed a ‘space hub’, will use government funding to bring together local authorities, expertise and businesses to create a strategy for how their area can take maximum advantage of the commercial space race. Harwell in Oxfordshire established itself as a space hub in the last 10 years, and ministers want to replicate this success in other areas.

Funding is going to seven locations – including the North West, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire – to ensure space is a priority for regional economic growth and attract commercial investment from space companies to these areas.

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