New UK Funding for Space Technology Projects
The Enabling Technologies Programme (ETP) is providing a significant opportunity for the UK space sector to advance cutting-edge technologies that can address global challenges and enhance the work of space organizations worldwide. With a total government funding of £4 million, including £3.2 million from the UK Space Agency and £800,000 from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the ETP is supporting a range of projects in academia and industry.
These projects are focused on optimizing the use of space for weather prediction, climate-change monitoring, and space debris removal through innovative methods such as propulsion, sterilization, in-orbit servicing, and imaging. Dr. Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency, emphasized the importance of space science and technology in addressing critical issues on Earth and highlighted the program’s role in empowering scientists and engineers to develop new capabilities.
The projects cover a diverse range of topics, including the development of new propulsion methods, advanced imaging technologies, and innovative approaches to space debris mitigation. For example, the University of Glasgow is exploring a concept where a spacecraft can use its own body as fuel, enabling cost-effective low Earth orbit access. Additionally, the University of Bristol is leveraging data from the UK-backed Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission to enhance global flood modeling accuracy.
The ETP fund is also supporting projects focused on space exploration and human spaceflight. The University of Southampton is developing a sterilization method using non-thermal plasma to support human spaceflight, while the University of Manchester is working on alternative motion techniques to expand the capabilities of extraterrestrial robotics for future rover and exploration missions.
The collaboration between the UK Space Agency and the STFC is driving innovation in the UK space industry, with a focus on Earth observation, satellite communications, and manned space exploration. The ETP fund plays a crucial role in overcoming research and development barriers, bringing high-value space technologies to market, and creating long-term benefits for society.
Overall, the ETP is positioning the UK as a world leader in the space economy, with a strong emphasis on advancing technologies that can have a positive impact on people, businesses, and communities. The projects supported by the ETP fund are paving the way for the next generation of space technologies, with the potential to create jobs and address pressing global challenges.