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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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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European ‘Comet Chaser’ Probe to be Designed in UK

Comet Interceptor (Credit: Thales Alenia Space)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Design work will soon begin in the UK on the spacecraft for a new European Space Agency science mission, which will 3D-map a comet for the first time,

Thales Alenia Space, who have three sites in the UK and employ nearly 200 highly skilled engineers and scientists, have won one of two parallel mission study contracts for the design concept of the mothership and a smaller robotic probe for the European Space Agency (ESA) Comet Interceptor mission. Design work is also taking place in Italy.

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ESA Partnering on UK’s New Space Thruster Test Site

An aerial shot taken by drone shows the site of the newly commissioned UK National Space Propulsion Test Facility, developed with ESA support. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Today marks the start of final assembly of the UK’s new National Space Propulsion Facility. ESA is providing technical oversight and financial backing for the facility, which is being equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure to test the most powerful engines used to shift the orbits of space missions.

The National Space Propulsion Facility is based at Westcott Venture Park in Buckinghamshire, a historic centre for UK rocketry.

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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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Teledyne e2v Receives UK Space Agency Grant to Develop AI Processes for Intelligent Detection

RAPID – Real-time AI processes for Intelligent Detection to help manage high data volumes generated on space-based Earth Observation platforms aimed at tackling climate change

Chelmsford, UK, December 8, 2020 – Teledyne e2v’s Space Imaging team, a part of the Teledyne Imaging Group, has secured funding from the UK Space Agency’s National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP) that will demonstrate and help support intelligent image processing platforms. The funding is in response to the 2020/2021 NSIP theme for “Earth Observation to Tackle Climate Change” and will be jointly delivered with Craft Prospect, based in Glasgow.

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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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UKSpace Praises Government’s Plan to Establish Space Command

BORDON, UK (UKspace PR) — Plans to establish the UK’s own Space Command will “further enhance coordination of the UK military and commercial space operations” according to space industry association UKspace.

During an announcement about increased UK defence spending over the next four years, the Prime Minister said that the new Space Command – which will be a joint services command of the Ministry of Defence, to be established at a Royal Air Force (RAF) base – will protect the UK’s interests in space and control the UK’s first satellite launched from a UK rocket by 2022.

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10 New Satellites to be Built in Glasgow as Part of New Innovative Constellation Service

10 new government-backed satellites the size of a shoebox are going to be built in Scotland after a signing between AAC Clyde Space UK and ESA

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — AAC Clyde manufacture a range of small satellites, ranging from 1kg to 50kg in weight, and offer space-as-a-service, which is an end-to-end mission service covering everything from mission design, launch and satellite operations to data delivery for companies including; Orbcomm, NSLComm, Eutelsat, Orbital Micro Systems, NASA and ESA.

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Multi-Million Pound Funding Package Pledged for UK Space Centre of Excellence in Ayrshire, Scotland

Artist’s rendering of Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport (Credit: South Ayreshire Council)

AYR, Scotland (South Ayrshire Council PR) — A commitment to invest over £80 million [$106.3 million] in a UK Space Centre of Excellence in Ayrshire, was made by both UK and Scottish Governments, in partnership with South Ayrshire Council, as part of the Ayrshire Growth Deal signing.

The funding package will develop and support a wide range of new, cutting-edge aerospace and space activities around Glasgow Prestwick Airport, including a satellite launch site and a range of other advanced technology initiatives beyond space launch.

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AAC Clyde Space to Develop Innovative Constellation Services with ESA, UK Space Agency

UPPSALA, Sweden (AAC Clyde Space PR) — AAC Clyde Space embarks on a 3-year project, named xSPANCION, with the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop an innovative satellite constellation service, including the manufacturing of 10 spacecrafts. The UK Space Agency through ESA, will co-fund the project with 9.9 MEUR (approx. 101.4 MSEK). AAC Clyde Space intends to, outside this project, enter into customer service agreements for data delivery from the constellation.

During the first phase of the project running until mid-2021, AAC Clyde Space will deliver a preliminary design for its next generation space as a service offering. The value of this first phase is 1.8 MEUR (approx. 18.4 MSEK) of which 0.9 MEUR (approx. 9.2 MSEK) will be co-funded by UK Space Agency through ESA, providing sufficient resources to achieve comfortably this part of the project. The co-funding from UK Space Agency will be recognized as revenue with no net margin since AAC Clyde Space and partners will co-fund the remaining 0.9 MEUR (approx. 9.2 MEUR).

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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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