Space agency to offer funds for research

Up to 300 UK space industry companies will be able to compete for work on £4.5m-worth of new European Space Agency (ESA) projects. Announcing a package of investments in three ESA programmes last week, science and industry minister, John Battle, said that £2m will be available to help fund the development of new technologies for […]

Up to 300 UK space industry companies will be able to compete for work on £4.5m-worth of new European Space Agency (ESA) projects.

Announcing a package of investments in three ESA programmes last week, science and industry minister, John Battle, said that £2m will be available to help fund the development of new technologies for research and commercial spacecraft, through the ESA’s general support technology programme. These technologies will include power systems and software for satellite ground stations.

A further £2m will be used towards funding for the development of digital communications technology to compete in the ARTES-4 programme, while £0.5m will go towards a design study into SMART-1 the Small Mission for Advanced Research in Technology. This is a science satellite that will be used to demonstrate new technologies needed for future collaborative exploration into deep space.

A spokesman for the British National Space Centre (BNSC) said: ‘It is up to UK industry to put forward proposals to us and the ESA for each new project.’ The proposals would then be assessed by ESA and the BNSC.

‘Firms must be able to match the funds awarded from the UK’s ESA contribution,’ the spokesman said.

The latest investment follows a £21m space investment package announced by the DTI last month.