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by Sofia Villegas
27 March 2024
UK Space Agency opens £60m fund to help drive satellite industry

The Scottish space industry is expected to be worth £4bn by 2030 | UKSA

UK Space Agency opens £60m fund to help drive satellite industry

The UK Space Agency (UKSA) has launched a £60m funding opportunity to secure the UK’s competitive edge in the satellite sector. 

The announcement comes after a record number of satellites – 2,917 – were launched in 2023.  

With a majority operating within commercial constellations, the industry could bring significant revenue to the British economy via high-value contracts in the global supply chain for satellite networks. 

According to a report by US consultant Allied Market Research, it is estimated that the global satellite industry will generate $615.7bn by 2032. 

Dr Paul Bate, chief executive of the UKSA, said: “The UK is already home to some of the world’s most innovative leaders in satellite communications technologies and expertise, but continued growth requires sustained and strategic investment.”

Scotland already holds a world-leading position in the industry, with Glasgow producing more satellites than anywhere else in the world other than California

“This major new funding allows us to provide additional support, signalling the UK’s long-term commitment to the satellite communications sector and helping to bring its most ambitious projects to market,” Bate added. 

Up to £20m – funded by the UKSA with support from the European Space Agency’s Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme – will be awarded to successful applicants. 

Projects will work to enhance satellite data-processing efficiency and services to customers on Earth.

The programme will also give the UK a competitive advantage within the growing global market of low Earth orbit constellations, which will accelerate investment, develop new manufacturing capabilities, and enhance connectivity in remote areas in the UK.

The latter is of significance to Scotland as it is home to the four local authority areas with the worst internet connection in the UK, according to the latest data by Ofcom. 

It is also claimed that advancing these communications services is critical to ensuring the success of emerging innovations, including autonomous vehicles and healthcare deliveries via drone.

This is the first allocation of a larger economic injection given to the UKSA’s Connectivity in Low Earth Orbit programme. 

In the recently announced Spring Budget, the programme was awarded a £160m economic boost over the next four years.

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