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by Sofia Villegas
22 November 2023
UK to join groundbreaking space project ‘vital’ to tackling climate change

The UK space conference will finish tomorrow | Alamy

UK to join groundbreaking space project ‘vital’ to tackling climate change

The UK is looking to become part of the Atlantic Constellation (AC) to boost its capabilities in Earth observation technologies.

The AC is an international project aiming to develop a constellation of small satellites for ocean, Earth and climate monitoring.

With a £3m fund from the UK Space Agency (UKSA), Oxford-based company Open Cosmos will build a new Pathfinder satellite, which will critically enhance the constellation’s provision of data.

The satellite will boost the project's ability to provide up-to-date information on disaster relief by increasing the number of observations it can make on the same point on Earth by over 30 per cent.

With this multi-million-pound boost, the UK hopes to join fellow European nations, Portugal and Spain, in the new international space endeavour as well as strengthen its links with fellow organisations such as the European Space Agency.

UK technology minister, Andrew Griffith, said: “Earth observation will play an absolutely vital role in tackling global challenges like climate change and disaster relief, providing the data we need at speed while supporting key UK industries like agriculture and energy.”

Announced at the launch of the UK Space Conference in Belfast, the plans set the tone for the three-day event's ambition to promote global cooperation in the sector.  

The UKSA will also unveil a £4m package to create a Rocketry Research, Training and Teaching Hub, to ensure rocket science PhDs meet the demand of the UK’s growing satellite business.

Paul Bate, chief executive of the UKSA, said: “Space has been shaping our lives for decades but is set to become increasingly critical as we take the necessary steps to protect our planet, drive prosperity and push the boundaries of human knowledge.

“That’s why we are focused on catalysing investment, delivering new missions and capabilities in areas such as Earth observation and the low-Earth orbit economy, and championing the opportunities that our growing space sector brings to people and businesses up and down the country.”

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