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UK Space Agency National Space Technology Programme


In 2011, a £10 million funding allocation to the Agency was announced by the Government as part of the Budget. The funding will allow the Agency to implement a goal of the Space Innovation and Growth Strategy Report (carried forward into the Agency's new draft strategy issued for consultation closed on 8 July) which is to have a ‘National Space Technology Programme’ (NSTP).

The current delivery plan is set out in the following document: National Space Technology Programme - Delivery Plan June 2011 (PDF, 213 Kb) 

Download the status report for the National Space Technology Programme, March 2012. (PDF, 33 Kb)  

The next NSTP call will be for a focussed co-located space innovation project designed to exploit the facilities of ISIC. The Announcement of Opportunity is scheduled for May 2012.

The following NSTP calls are complete and awards have now been made:

'Space for Growth' Flagship projects

This was a two-stage competition for 50/50 funded industry-led projects and the initial short-listing of the eleven preliminary proposals received was completed on schedule in January 2012. Following evaluation of the full proposals, four large projects are now underway to develop commercially-oriented space technologies. The NSTP contribution is £6M. The programme has been financially and administratively supported by the Technology Strategy Board. The four projects will focus on a next generation commercial telecom satellite platform; S-band SAR technology for NovaSAR; a carbon flux monitoring system; and a compact Ka-band telecommunications terminal for use in civilian markets. More information can be found in our "£6 million for UK space technology industry" story.

'Space for Growth' Fastrack Projects.

These projects are industry-led and 50/50 co-funded. Fifty-four bids were received and the best twenty nine are being funded with a public sector investment of £2.5M. Projects cover a broad range of subjects ranging from novel propulsion for cubesats; through technology to exploit Galileo in secure applications; to techniques for crop monitoring from space. More information is available in this story. Fourteen of the twenty-two companies offered funding are small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) while fifteen of them plan to use facilities available at the International Space Innovation Centre at Harwell and Guildford. The Technology Strategy Board has both financially contributed to the competition and administered it on behalf of the Agency.

'Cubesat Technology Announcement of Opportunity'

In December 2011, the Agency ran a competition for studies of technology and missions exploiting cubesat technology. Public sector funding of up to £35k each at a 75% investment level was offered. Thirty proposals were evaluated and eleven grants totalling £310k have been announced. This strong response confirms our impression that cubesats offer an excellent opportunity for training and technology demonstration. Meanwhile, progress on UKube-1 continues and the next step is to select the launch provider and confirm a launch date.

NSTP Future Technology Pathfinder Programme

The Agency held a competition for low Technology Readiness Level projects with NSTP funding of ten projects of up to £50k each. A summary of the successful projects can be found here (PDF, 102 Kb) .

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The UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space.

The UK's thriving space sector contributes £9.1 billion a year to the UK economy and directly employs 28,900 with an average growth rate of almost 7.5%. (The Size and Health of the UK Space Sector 2010/11, preliminary survey results.)

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