The UK Space Agency has announced 50 million pounds for further strengthening the UK's satellite communications Industry. The fundings come from the Advanced Research in Telecommunications Services (ARTES) programme of the European Space Agency (ESA), and it can be used for a range of projects, including the creation of new satellite constellations, the ground infrastructure required to connect to them, or complete end-to-end systems that provide new services to clients.
This could involve incorporating 5G systems to support emerging industries and services, like drones or autonomous transport, by modernising equipment and unlocking communication for machines and humans. This will also enable UK Space operators to deploy innovative new technologies and services by building space-based systems that can compete with terrestrial cable providers.
George Freeman, the UK's science minister, said the following statements:
- 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 pounds to the UK economy.
- We are determined to invest in our world-class satellite technology sector, which is why I committed 1.8 billion pounds for UK participation in ESA programs over the next five years and recently committed 190 million pounds specifically to participate in international telecommunications missions.
- This latest 50 million pound UK Space Agency funding will help more companies into our vibrant fast growth UK space telecoms sector, helping drive growth and wider UK economic resilience.
According to the official UK government website, the UK's satellite communications sector is expanding quickly to generate more than 26,600 new employment opportunities and contribute 10.4 billion pounds to the economy.
This investment will open the door for solutions to more capacity, reduced congestion, and more secure communication in distant and difficult-to-reach locations.
"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," said Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency.
"I look forward to seeing the results of the competition and following the successful projects in their next steps."
The UK is a leading investor in Advanced Research in Telecommunications Services (ARTES), having committed 190 million pounds to the programme at the ESA Council of Ministers in November.