UK Space Agency pledges support for spin-out projects

The UK Space Agency has pledged support for nine groundbreaking spin-out projects from Europe’s Aurora space exploration programme.

Making the announcement at the UK Space Conference 2011, the agency said that all the projects had the potential to be developed into terrestrial applications that could benefit society and the UK economy.

‘Most people don’t realise that space technology is all around us and that most of us use space technology every day,’ said Dr David Williams, the agency’s chief executive.

‘The Aurora programme spin-outs are a great example of how industry, academia and government can work together to maximise the output of space research.’

In one project, Astrium, Europe’s leading space company, will be working with experts in the medical field to identify where Aurora space technology can be used or adapted to benefit the NHS, the UK public and UK business.

Meanwhile, Leicester University’s Space Research Centre, along with Magna Parva, are using technology designed to detect trace levels of life in samples of Martian soil to develop a miniaturised sample processing system that enables analysis in situ by unskilled operatives. Such a system would have wide applications, including detection of pollution and contamination, and could be used in commercial, government and defence sectors.

Magna Parva is also developing a new method of making aluminium cans that will reduce the aluminium used by 12 per cent — a huge potential impact since the global consumption of canned beverages alone is around 270 billion units each year.  Apart from the possible annual savings of around £100m in 10 years’ time, the innovation also benefits the environment.

Also announced at the conference was news that the UK’s RAL Space has been selected to design, build and test the world’s first high-definition streaming space video camera. Click here to read more.

Magna Parva, a rising star of UK technology, is led by an engineer who believes in concentrating on business. Click here to read more.