UK Space Agency to invest £50 million for satellite communications
UK Space Agency (UKSA) has announced £50 million of funding for ‘ambitious and innovative’ projects that will accelerate the UK’s satellite communications industry.
The funding is part of the European Space Agency (ESA) Advanced Research in Telecommunications Services (ARTES) programme and is available for a wide range of projects, such as developing new satellite constellations, the ground systems needed to access them, or whole end-to-end systems delivering new services to customers.
These could include integrating 5G systems to unlock connectivity for people and machines through upgrading infrastructure to enable new markets and services such as drones or driverless haulage.
This will create space-based networks to rival cable-based terrestrial ones, helping UK space operators to use disruptive new technologies and business models to enable global operations.
“Developing UK space capabilities and maximising commercial opportunities are key to the National Space Strategy, as part of our plans to become a leading power in space and build on a sector already worth £16.5 billion to the UK economy”, said George Freeman, the UK’s science minister.
“This latest £50 million UK Space Agency funding will help more companies into our vibrant fast growth UK space telecoms sector, helping drive both growth and wider UK economic resilience”, he continued.
The UK already has a fast-growing satellite communications industry, with services contributing £10.4 billion to the economy and to the creation of more than 26,600 jobs.
Successful companies will have the opportunity to help kick off the next generation of satellite communications hardware, paving the way for services that can provide better quality connectivity in remote and hard-to-reach places, higher bandwidth, lower latency, and increased security.
Paul Bate, UK Space Agency CEO, commented “This is an exciting time to be involved in the satellite communications industry as the world increases its dependence on these services to manage business, travel, security, infrastructure, connectivity, and more.”
“This funding will help UK companies that have the right expertise and ambition to become global players in this market and lead on ground-breaking technologies that will enhance the wider UK space sector, create jobs and generate further investment.”
The UK is a leading investor in ARTES, having committed £190 million to the programme at the ESA Council of Ministers in November.