UK Space Agency to invest £50m in satellite comms


Projects will have the opportunity to bid for the funds, which will be allocated later this year

As part of the European Space Agency (ESA) Advanced Research in Telecommunications Services (ARTES) programme, the UK Space Agency has today announced £50 million in funding for new satellite communications projects in the UK.

According to the government, this funding may be used for everything from developing new satellite constellations to innovating with teleports and developing new customer services.

Companies interested in accessing these funds will have until March 1 to submit applications, with the UK Space Agency set to pick winners and allocate the funding later this summer.

“This funding will help UK companies that have the right expertise and ambition to become global players in this market and lead on ground-breaking technologies that will enhance the wider UK space sector, create jobs and generate further investment,” said UK Space Agency CEO Dr Paul Bate. “I look forward to seeing the results of the competition and following the successful projects in their next steps.”

The UK government has shown increasing interest in the satellite communications industry in recent years, notably rescuing floundering satellite communications company OneWeb from bankruptcy back in 2020.

Today, OneWeb has 542 low Earth orbit satellites in orbit, with only around 100 more required to achieve global coverage.

According to the government, the satellite communications industry in the UK is already worth £10.4 billion and comprising around 26,600 jobs.

“Developing UK space capabilities and maximising commercial opportunities are key to the National Space Strategy, as part of our plans to become a leading power in space and build on a sector already worth £16.5 billion to the UK economy,” said UK Science Minister George Freeman.

“This latest £50 million UK Space Agency funding will help more companies into our vibrant fast growth UK space telecoms sector, helping drive both growth and wider UK economic resilience,” he added.

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