Government primes space research with £2.5m

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The Government is making £2.5m available fro R&D funding for 22 UK companies in the space technology sector.

The grant funding – from the UK Space Agency (www.bis.gov.uk/ukspaceagency), the Technology Strategy Board (www.innovateuk.org), and the South East England Development Agency (www.seeda.co.uk) – will  support twenty-eight fast-track research and development projects, each lasting between 6 and 9 months. 

Including match-funding from the businesses involved, the total value of the R&D is nearly £5m. 

Projects will include novel propulsion for cubesats, systems to exploit the Galileo navigation satellite system research into techniques for crop monitoring from space.

“The UK space industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country, contributing £7.5bn annually to the UK economy,” said Dr David Williams, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency.

“This National Space Technology Programme will help us further this success by providing an opportunity for promising UK space technologies and applications to be developed to meet their full commercial potential and for businesses to explore collaborations with other sectors to establish services in new markets,” said Williams.

The organisations leading the collaborative projects are: ABSL Power Solutions Ltd (Abingdon), AMPAC ISP UK Westcott Ltd (Aylesbury), Astrium Ltd (Stevenage & Portsmouth, 3 projects), CBIL (Whitchurch, Bucks), Clyde Space Ltd (Glasgow), e2v technologies (UK) Ltd (Chelmsford), EADS-UK (Bristol), Exemplar Associates Ltd (Biggleswade), Logica (Leatherhead, 2 projects), M Squared Lasers (Glasgow), Magellium Ltd (Harwell), Mars Space Ltd (Southampton), National Physical Laboratory (Teddington, 2 projects), Nottingham Scientific Ltd (Nottingham), QinetiQ (Malvern), Reaction Engines Ltd (Abingdon), SSBV Space and Ground Systems Ltd (Portsmouth), Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (Guildford, 2 projects), Umeco – Structural Materials (Derby), VEGA Space Ltd (Welwyn Garden City), VIPER RF Ltd (Sunderland, 2 projects) and Zettlex UK Ltd (Cambridge).

Fourteen of the twenty-two companies offered funding are small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) while fifteen of them plan to use facilities available at the International Space Innovation Centre at Harwell and Guildford.

The grant funding has been awarded following the companies’ success in the fast-track part of the “Space for Growth” competition for collaborative R&D funding. 

The results of the other part of the competition, which will see grant funding of up to £2m awarded to each of a small number of ‘flagship’ R&D projects, are likely to be announced in April 2012.

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