New Funding Call for UK Earth Observation Sector

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — More than £800,000 [$983,000] is available to the UK space sector as part of European Space Agency (ESA) support for innovative commercial projects related to Earth Observation.

The programme, InCubed, aims to support industry-led initiatives that will open new market opportunities. The call will bring innovative systems and products to market faster and help Earth Observation businesses compete in the global marketplace.

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New US-UK Agreement Boosts UK’s Spaceport Plans

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK and US governments have signed a new agreement paving the way for US companies to operate from UK spaceports and export space launch technology.

UK Ambassador Dame Karen Pierce and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-proliferation, Christopher Ford, signed the US-UK Technology Safeguards Agreement, which will enable U.S. companies to participate in space launches from the United Kingdom, on Tuesday 16 June 2020.

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Major Space Agency Heads Hold Virtual Meeting

Translated from French by Google Translate

PARIS (CNES PR) — Tuesday, June 9, fifteen heads of space agencies from around the world (European Space Agency (ESA), Germany, Australia, Canada, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, France, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, News – Zealand, Russia, United Kingdom) participated, at the invitation of NASA, in a virtual meeting to exchange their points of view on the progress of human and robotic exploration. 

Because of COVID-19, this meeting could not be held, as every year, at the time of the Colorado Springs Space Symposium initially scheduled for the end of March. 

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Scottish Solar Panel to Fly on UK Space Launch

Solar panel (Credit: Clyde Space)

Glasgow-based AAC Clyde Space will manufacture a new solar panel for space vehicles launched from UK vertical spaceports.

GLASGOW (UK Space Agency PR) — AAC Clyde Space played an integral role in Glasgow’s emergence as a global hub for satellite manufacturing and built the UK Space Agency’s first national satellite, which was launched in 2014. The company’s expertise in space systems will now play a vital role in supporting the UK’s plans to become Europe’s leading small satellite launch destination.

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NASA-CNES Surface Water Mission Remains on Cost, Schedule

SWOT satellite (Credit: NASA JPL)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A Franco-American mission to measure global surface water levels from space continues to hold to its budget and an April 2022 launch date despite the late arrival of its main scientific instrument, according to a new assessment by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The $754.9 million Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission had been working toward a September 2021 launch date, which would have been seven months ahead of schedule.

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UK Commits New Funding to Combat Space Debris

New government funding for innovative solutions to tackle the growing problem of potentially hazardous space debris, has been announced today.

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — There are an estimated 900,000 pieces of space debris larger than 1 cm orbiting the Earth, with only a small proportion of them tracked.

The UK Space Agency is providing up to £1 million for organisations to come up with smart solutions to this problem by using cost effective ways to monitor objects in low Earth Orbit, or applying artificial intelligence to make better use of existing orbital data.

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Reaction Engines Announces Conceptual Study for SABRE Engine Hypersonic Test Bed

SABRE engine (Credit: Reaction Engines)

ABINGDON, UK (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines is delighted to announce the launch of a conceptual study to develop a flying Hypersonic Test Bed (HTB) concept for the in-flight demonstration of SABRE technology. 

The study was initiated through the UK Space Agency and will be conducted under the European Space Agency General Support Technology Programme (GSTP).  It involves a consortium consisting of Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (including Cranfield University), Reaction Engines, BAE Systems and Frost & Sullivan.

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UK Space Technologies to Boost NHS Coronavirus Response

LONDON (UK Government PR) — The UK space industry has some of the brightest minds in the country and is well placed to support the unprecedented national effort to overcome the biggest threat the UK has faced for decades.

Satellite data and drone technology can help meet challenges such as delivering test kits, masks, gowns and goggles, managing infectious disease outbreaks and supporting the health and wellbeing of the nation.

An initial £2.6 million is being made available to fund a number of projects to develop hi-tech solutions to these challenges, in a joint initiative with the European Space Agency (ESA) in support of NHS England.

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Virgin Orbit Partners to Use Japanese Airport for Launches

Virgin Orbit’s Cosmic Girl 747 taxis down runway 12-30 at the Mojave Air and Space Port with the LauncherOne booster under its wing. Northrop Grumman’s Stargazer L-1011 aircraft, which also air launches the Pegasus XL rocket, can be seen in the background. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

OITA, Japan/LONG BEACH, Calif., April 2, 2020 (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit, the California-based small satellite launch company, has announced a new partnership with Oita Prefecture to bring horizontal launch to Japan.

With the support of regional partners ANA Holdings Inc. and the Space Port Japan Association, Virgin Orbit has identified Oita Airport as its preferred pilot launch site — yet another addition to the company’s growing global network of horizontal launch sites — in pursuit of a mission to space from Japan as early as 2022. 

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UK Space Sector Working Together on Response to Coronavirus

LONDON (UK Government PR) — The Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency and the President and Chair of the UKspace trade body met virtually last week to discuss the space sector’s response to Covid-19.

The UK space sector employs 42,000 people and generates an income of £14.8 billion each year, while supporting £300 billion of wider economic activity through other industries with satellite services such as navigation, communications and Earth observation. Space is part of the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure and has in-built resilience due to the autonomous nature of many orbital operations, the relatively low number of specialist staff required for ongoing operations, and multiple contingencies.

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400 Marsquakes Detected by UK Sensors in One Year

This image from InSight’s robotic-arm mounted Instrument Deployment Camera shows the instruments on the spacecraft’s deck, with the Martian surface of Elysium Planitia in the background. The image was received on Dec. 4, 2018 (Sol 8). (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The NASA InSight lander, which is supported by the UK Space Agency, has recorded 400 likely ‘Marsquakes’ in the first year of its mission.

The seismic vibrations on Mars were detected by a set of silicon sensors developed in the UK for InSight’s Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS).

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Shetland Space Centre Receives Initial £2 Million Investment Boost

HAROLDSWICK, Scotland — Shetland Space Centre’s (SSC) plan to build and operate a satellite launch site has been given a major boost by a £2,050,000 [$2.65 million] investment from Leonne International, the international private equity firm.

The cash injection, which gives Leonne a 20 per cent stake in the business, will be used for future growth of the company, such as the development of the launch site and ground station in Unst.

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UK’s First Industrial Contribution to International Space Station Ready for Launch

COLka undergoing testing in the Hertz test chamber at the European Space Agency in The Netherlands. COLKa’s radio signals are being recorded. The blue spikes isolate the room from electromagnetic interference, recreating the radio frequencies of space. (Credit: ESA–M. Cowan)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (UK Space Agency PR) — UK-built technology that will revolutionise the science astronauts carry out on the International Space Station is due to launch today (15 February).

Called COLKa for ‘Columbus Ka-band Terminal’, the system will allow astronauts and researchers to benefit from a direct link with Europe at home broadband speeds, relaying data from experiments on the ISS back to Earth almost instantaneously.

The fridge-sized device is due to launch aboard a Cygnus supply ship from Wallops Island, Virginia just before 9pm UK time on Friday. Two astronauts will carry out a spacewalk later this year to mount it to the outside of the Columbus module on the ISS.

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UKspace Welcomes Government’s Renewed Funding Commitment to ESA

HARWELL, UK, 27 November 2019 (UKspace PR) – UKspace has welcomed today’s announcement by the UK Government that it will increase its funding commitment to the European Space Agency (ESA) by more than 15% from its current contribution to £374 million per year.

The timing of the announcement coincides with the ESA Ministerial Summit which began in Seville today.

“We are extremely encouraged by the UK Government’s renewed investment in ESA and the associated European space programmes,” said UKspace Chair, Graham Peters.

“As we stated in our recently-published UKspace 2020 Manifesto, ESA funding provides the assurance we require to plan and deliver, since space is a long-term business. Previous spending through ESA has always delivered excellent returns for UK business, and this commitment will enable our sector to continue developing and manufacturing the space technologies, capability and supply chains needed to secure the UK’s role in the global space market.”

Graham added: “For the UK space industry to continue its upward curve – which has seen it secure more than 5% of the global space economy in recent years – ongoing Government support is critical. Looking ahead, we hope that this decision will be further backed up by the establishment of a National Space Programme designed to ensure the UK space sector plays an increasingly prominent role in the global space market, building cross-country partnerships and exporting knowledge and equipment.”

UK Invests in European Space Agency Programs

SEVILLE, Spain (UKSA PR) — The UK Space Agency has today (28 November) announced it will invest £374m [$411.75 million] per year with the European Space Agency (ESA) to deliver international space programmes over the next five years.

The UK is one of the founding members of ESA, an inter-governmental organisation established in 1975 to promote cooperation in space research, technology and applications development. ESA is independent of the EU, bringing together countries across Europe and around the world.

Membership enables the UK to collaborate with space agencies across the world on projects like the International Space Station and the ExoMars programme to send a UK-built rover to search for signs of life on Mars.

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