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UK Space Agency Invests $59M Across 12 Space Projects

By Rachel Jewett | November 22, 2023

The UK Space Agency is investing 47 million pounds ($59 million) across 12 space projects, the government announced Nov. 22. The investment will be doubled by matched funding from the private sector, representing over 98 million pounds ($122 million) of new funds in space research and development. 

The funding comes from the Space Clusters Infrastructure Fund (SCIF), which focuses on building and connecting clusters of space capabilities in the U.K. to encourage space tech innovation. 

“Our space sector has been concentrated in London and the South East, but in recent years we’ve seen the emergence of vibrant clusters across the whole of the country,” commented UKSA Chief Executive Dr. Paul Bate. “The Space Clusters Infrastructure Fund highlights the government’s commitment to space and will help deliver the goal set out in the National Space Strategy to build one of the most innovative and attractive space economies in the world, developing new skills and creating jobs.” 

Northumbria University’s North-East Space Skills and Technology (NESST) Centre will receive the largest portion of the funding, 10 million pounds ($12.5 million), to redevelop a university site for work on optical satellite comms, space weather and space-based energy. 

Space Forge will receive 7.9 million pounds ($9.8 million) to design and build a National Microgravity Research Centre in Wales that will serve as a hub for the growing Welsh space sector. 

Thales Alenia Space will receive 6 million pounds ($7.5 million) to install a cleanroom and three R&D laboratories for satellite manufacturing in Harwell. 

Other funds will go to Magdrive, Smiths Interconnect, Airbus Defence and Space, iComat, URA Thrusters, Open Cosmos, Snowdonia Aerospace, Radtest, and the Centre for Modelling and Simulation. 

“These projects demonstrate the potential of our thriving space sector across the length and breadth of the U.K. to develop innovative space infrastructure that helps us to deliver increasingly ambitious missions and capabilities, and champions the power of space to improve lives,” Bates commented.