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Space Blog

UK supports space innovation overseas

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts has announced a £6 million co-funded grant for commercial products and services developments from space-based systems and technology. SSTL is leading one of four projects that will benefit, as part of the National Space Technology Programme (NSTP), delivered through the UK Space Agency and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). The funding was announced as a trade delegation including the Prime Minister, Minster Willetts, and SSTL Executive Chairman Sir Martin Sweeting, visit Japan. Among the key themes of the trip is increased space research collaboration between the two nations. SSTL has previously collaborated with Japan through their Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC): In conjunction with the UK Space Agency, provided vital data for rescuers and assessors following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. SSTL’s remote sensing subsidiary DMC International Imaging (DMCii) has a track record for international collaboration through ten years supporting disaster relief efforts "“ from Hurricane Katrina to the Asian Tsunami. Minister Willetts has signed an agreement with Japan's economic minister, Motohisa Furukawa on space industry collaboration and commerce. Speaking in Japan, the Minister praised the UK space industry "“ worth £7.5 billion annually "“ but stressed that international links are key to its continued success:
UK success depends on partners like the Japanese. Today's agreement will aid future space commerce and fuel growth for the UK’s innovative companies through our leading researchers’ work.
Impression of NovaSAR in orbit
NovaSAR innovation reduces radar costs
The minister added that the funding given to SSTL is intended to help develop commercial, cutting-edge space technology, with global market appeal. SSTL’s funding share will assist with the UK’s planned NovaSAR mission, by accelerating the development of an innovative s-band Synthetic Aperture Radar instrument that offers SAR imagery at a fraction of the cost of existing satellites. This exciting new technology will deliver cloud-penetrating imagery day and night for applications such as forestry, maritime surveillance and global disaster relief operations. At a time when the world’s most established space agencies, including NASA, are facing budget cuts and with the CSA Radarsat Constellation Mission cuts also topical this week, NovaSAR is just one example of British innovation that offers more bang-for-buck to the international market.





12 April 20120 Comments1 Comment

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