01 Aug 2023

Government explores plan to open £160 million satellites fund

Today's announcement looks to fund next generation of satellite communications development and boost the UK’s leadership in the global satellite market.

To propel the UK’s capabilities and long-term ambitions in the space sector, the government is working to establish a potential £160m scheme to fund the next generation of satellite communications development. This includes £60m from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) UK-backed Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme.

The funding, which will be available to British businesses and researchers, should ensure that the transition from research and development to commercialisation is accelerated.

This development would mark the UK’s most significant ever investment in satellite communications, boosting connectivity in remote and rural areas, unleashing the UK's potential to become global giants of the satellite industry, and creating hundreds of highly skilled jobs to boost the Prime Minister’s priority of growing the economy.

techUK also welcomes the re-introduction of the National Space Council. Given the recent publication of the National Space Strategy In Action, plus March's Science & Technology Framework, the UK now has the opportunity to put its space ambitions into practice and play a leading role in the global space economy.

The scheme looks to establish UK leadership in many critical areas for the next generation of LEO satellite communication technologies such as AI and machine learning. These are crucial drivers of innovation across the spectrum of advanced connectivity technologies.

Today’s announcement is a vital step towards the delivery of a key priority of the UK Space Agency – to maximise the potential of low Earth orbit and become a global leader in next generation satellite communications technologies by building our ability to service future high-volume constellations. Our intent is to catalyse investment, build on existing capabilities and meet the challenges associated with seizing a significant share of a fast-moving global market, by leveraging our growing national space programme and leading investments in commercial ESA programmes such as ARTES.

Harshbir Sangha, Missions and Capabilities Delivery Director

UKSA

► The UK Space Agency will hold a Connectivity in Low Earth Orbit (CLEO) webinar on Thursday 10th August at 10:00am. You can register here.

► To kick off techUK's emerging space technology activity, we are hosting an Industries of the Future: Space webinar on Wednesday 20 September at 2:00pm. You can register here.

Sophie Greaves

Sophie Greaves

Head of Telecoms and Spectrum Policy, techUK

Mia Haffety

Mia Haffety

Programme Manager - Telecoms and Net Zero, techUK

Tales Gaspar

Tales Gaspar

Programme Manager, UK SPF and Satellite, techUK

Matthew Wild

Programme Assistant - Markets, techUK

Rory Daniels

Rory Daniels

Programme Manager, Emerging Technologies

Laura Foster

Laura Foster

Head of Technology and Innovation, techUK

Amelie Soares

Amelie Soares

Tech & Innovation Intern, techUK

Sue Daley

Sue Daley

Director, Technology and Innovation

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