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by Sofia Villegas
18 October 2023
New programme unlocks space technology for UK businesses

The UK Space Agency is sponsored by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology

New programme unlocks space technology for UK businesses

New programme unlocks space technology for UK businesses

A new programme from the UK Space Agency has opened up the use of satellite data and services to businesses.

The Unlocking Space for Business programme will encourage organisations - with a focus on finance, transport, and logistics - to use satellite data and services to expand and solve any issues the sector is facing.

With this new access to information, the programme hopes to improve customer experiences, boost operational efficiency, and provide new revenue opportunities for organisations.

Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, George Freeman, said: “Unlocking Space for Business will build on the multi-billion-pound contribution of space to the UK economy, helping to create jobs and economic growth while driving forward our ambitions to make the UK a science and technology superpower.”

Currently, satellite services support activity that contributes £370bn to the UK economy, amounting to almost 20 per cent of GDP. 

Paul Bate, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, added:  “Unlocking Space for Business will champion the use of space and help tackle barriers facing organisations that have not traditionally used satellite data or services. This will help catalyse further investment into our growing space sector and deliver greater benefits for businesses, people, and the environment.”

Initiatives, which are expected to run until 2025, include an information hub providing global expertise as well as access to networking events, workshops and online and in-person learning sessions for participants.

Other schemes include an opportunity to receive a share, later this year, of up to £6m UK Space Agency funding to launch pilot projects, data procurement or partnerships. Eligible projects should work towards benefitting UK businesses, citizens, or the space sector and be completed within an 18-month deadline. 

The programme will also provide business access across all satellite domains such as location, timing, connectivity, and imagery. 

Information gathered will allow form verification on customer insurance claims after extreme weather events to supporting location tracking and helping people offshore stay in touch with those on shore.

Geraint Evans, chief executive of the UK Major Ports Group, said: "Major ports and the wider maritime sector are at the forefront of the technological revolution and satellite services have the potential to play a key role in driving even greater efficiencies, safety and the growth of international trade through our British ports.

“We will continue to work closely with the UK Space Agency to ensure that our major ports, which collectively handle 75 per cent of the UK’s port volumes, can continue to lead as a sector in utilising innovative solutions using satellite technology.”

Behind the delivery of the project are PwC, a services firm that is a leader in tech-powered business transformation and the Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC), a company which drives economic growth by using space technology.

The initiative is part of the UK Space Agency’s Inspiration Programme,  a scheme raising awareness on how space-based assets can improve public services and help tackle challenges like climate change.

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