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Space Clusters Infrastructure Fund boosts UK space industry

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The funding – to be matched by the company – will enable a Research and Development Imager Cleanroom to improve SSTL’s facilities in Guildford. This will, say the parties, support the development of cutting-edge, space-based satellite imaging technology.

“By enhancing our optical Research and Development Cleanroom Facility, the new project will help address the growing need for space-based imaging equipment for a wide range of commercial, defence and governmental customers,” said Philip Brownnett, Managing Director of SSTL. “This will give a real boost to cutting-edge research into space imaging technology carried out in the UK.”

The SCIF has awarded £47 million of funding to date.

Space Clusters

The UKSA also announced £500,000 of further funding from the Clusters fund, for five initiatives that will help “foster collaboration between the UK’s network of space clusters”.


The projects are described, in the Space Agency’s own words, as follows:

Space North
Uniting Space Hub Yorkshire, the North West Space Cluster, and Space North East England to showcase the region’s resilient communications expertise, attract inward investment and boost research and collaboration.

Unlocking Space for Agriculture
Bringing together regional space and agricultural sectors in Scotland and the East of England to explore challenge-based opportunities through space capability research and knowledge-sharing.

South West Space Partnership
Building on the strengths of Space West, the Cornwall Space Cluster, the West of England Combined Authority, Cornwall Council and Invest Bristol & Bath, this pan-regional partnership aims to promote the region’s space capability, attract international investment and develop strategic collaborations.

Power4Space
Strengthening ties between the North West Space Cluster and Midlands Space Cluster, and their respective supply chains, to seize commercial opportunities in novel power systems for deep space applications.

Using Earth Observation to monitor Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Seaweed Production
Leveraging Earth observation capabilities within NI Space, Space Wales and the Space East clusters to monitor water bodies for harmful algal blooms and seaweed production, improving delivery of local government services using space assets and data.

The selected projects were announced at Space-Comm Expo.

“With entrepreneurs and businesses from across the UK space sector at Space-Comm Expo, I’m pleased to announce this series of targeted projects to support the continued growth of our space ecosystem and deliver on the government’s Space Industrial Plan,” said Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency.

“Hot off the heels of the Chancellor’s Budget boost for Low-Earth Orbit satellite manufacturing in the UK, these new projects will help catalyse investment, increase collaboration and boost prosperity across the country.”

See also: UK Space Agency funds £10m comms tech competition

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