The UK space industry offered grants of up to £75,000 to help finance space projects

The UK space industry offered grants of up to £75,000 to help finance space projects

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The UK government has initiated a grant scheme under which a company can be awarded a sum of over £75,000 to support the development of innovative commercial space technologies that move the British space industry closer to the market.

Up to £75,000 will be available for British space projects that will help the United Kingdom move forward in the global space race. The UK Space Agency funds will go to charities, companies, and scientists.

The UK has a thriving space sector with an annual turnover of £14.8 billion. The UK space sector, like most other industries, is largely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The UK Space Agency is seeking close cooperation with both industry and academia to ensure a strong recovery of the sector.

Eligibility for the National Space Technology Programme (NSTP) funding includes a six-month period to demonstrate an innovative approach to developing materials for commercial production or testing disruptive ideas.

The NSTP was launched in 2011 and the programme has since supported more than 272 projects. One of the previous successful applicants to the programme is Belstead, a company that has developed projects to improve towing methods for space debris disposal. Belstead has also participated in a partnership between Bristol University and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory to create technologies able to track and study volcanic dust clouds, a substance that can be harmful to rocket motors.

Charles McCausland, Chief of the UK Space Agency's Grand Projects and Technological Development Department, commented:

“The National Space Technology Programme has a strong track record of developing new ideas and driving growth in the UK space sector, with support available for organisations of any size. In 2019, we successfully funded 58 projects. As we ramp up support for national space capabilities and develop the new UK space strategy, the programme will continue to play a major role in forging new collaborations and backing early-stage technologies with future potential”.

The objective of the NSTP is to finance grants designed to enhance the UK space industry. Among these are activities intended to improve the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of commercial space technologies, encourage cooperation between industry and science, and promote new entrants into the space industry.

The development of a global UK space strategy was made easier by the leadership of the UK Space Agency throughout the UK Government. There is the prospect of continuing to reinforce domestic space activities with a new national space innovation plan, including the creation of high-quality job vacancies nationwide.