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by Sofia Villegas
07 March 2024
New funding to support UK space cluster network

New fund to strengthen UK's space sector | Alamy

New funding to support UK space cluster network

The UK Space Agency (UKSA) has announced new funding to enhance infrastructure and boost collaboration between UK space clusters.

A total of six projects have been chosen to receive a share of the Space Clusters Infrastructure Fund (SCIF).

Surrey Satellite Technology is among those awarded a part of the £750,000 cash injection.

The spacecraft engineering company manufactures and operates small satellites and will receive and match a sum of £250,000 to build a Research and Development Imager Cleanroom in Guildford.

The site will support the development of state-of-the-art space-based imaging technology, “crucial for satellite operations”, UK minister for space Andrew Griffith has said.

Another project to receive funding will look to unlock the power of space for agriculture by bringing together the sectors in Scotland and the East of England.

The Space North project will see Uniting Space Hub Yorkshire, the North West Space Cluster and Space North East England working together to showcase the region’s communications expertise, attract inward investment and boost research.

The South West Space Partnership between Space West, the Cornwall Space Cluster, the West of England Combined Authority, Cornwall Council and Invest Bristol & Bath, will promote the region’s space capability, attract international investment and develop strategic collaborations.

Power4Space will tie the North West Space Cluster and Midlands Space Cluster, and exploit commercial opportunities in novel power systems for deep space applications.

And NI Space will work with Space Wales and the Space East clusters to monitor water bodies for harmful algal blooms and seaweed production, enhancing the delivery of local government services using space assets and data.

The new funding comes during the Space-Comm Expo in London. It also follows the publication of the UK Government’s Space Industrial Plan, which aims to strengthen the relationship between the government and the commercial space sector.

To date, the SCIF has awarded a sum of £47m to projects including a space testing facility in Dundee and a space skills centre in Newcastle.

Dr Paul Bate, chief executive of UKSA, said: “Hot off the heels of the chancellor’s budget boost for low earth orbit satellite manufacturing in the UK, these new projects will help catalyse investment, increase collaboration and boost prosperity across the country.”

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