25 Sep 2019

Defence Minister announces investment for space innovation

Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan has announced a £1.5 million investment in 12 ground-breaking space innovation projects.

The announcement marks the next step in the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) ‘Space to Innovate’ competition, which sought to find and fund new technologies that could improve the UK’s resilience, awareness and capability in space.

The competition, run on behalf of Dstl by the Defence and Security Accelerator, the MOD’s innovation hub, received more than 60 bids from innovators around the world.

The successful entries cover the full spectrum of innovative ideas, from state-of-the-art imaging technology developed at the University of Strathclyde, to futuristic optical communication technology from mBryonics.

The announcement was made by Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan at the UK Space Conference, which brings together government, industry and academia to discuss the challenges and opportunities offered by space.

She said: “It’s vital we harness the ideas of the brightest and best innovators to improve the UK’s resilience and awareness in space.

“Faced with growing threats to UK interests, programmes like those selected today will boost our intelligence capability and help us stay ahead of our adversaries.”

The initial stage of development will complete with a demonstration day in summer 2020, at which point further funding may be available.

The publication of the winning bids follows a string of recent announcements on the UK’s military space programme.

At the RAF’s Air & Space Power Conference, the MOD established a new transatlantic team of government and industry personnel, named Team ARTEMIS, to lead a small satellite launch programme and undertake research into the military uses of small satellites.

The MOD also announced the UK as the first formal partner in the US-led Operation Olympic Defender – a multinational military effort formed to strengthen deterrence against hostile actors in space, enhance resilience and preserve the safety of spaceflight.

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