UK invests £50m in space

10 mins

The UK Space Agency is dedicating a £50 million fund to space infrastructure. The Spac...

Mane Recruitment

By Mane Recruitment

The UK Space Agency is dedicating a £50 million fund to space infrastructure. The Space Clusters and Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) is the first of its kind in the UK and will provide match funding for British organisations to create research and development infrastructure to get new commercial space products ready for sale.

Who gets the funding?

The funding will be awarded to industrial or academic organisations looking to build, procure or upgrade research and development facilities and equipment to bring high-value, high-potential space tech to market. SCIF will support about 5-10 projects worth up to £10 million each, and will act as a pilot project for further investment in the future.

As part of the UK Space Agency’s commitment to “Levelling Up”, SCIF will award most of its funding to areas outside the Greater South-East in a bid to spread the wealth around the UK, although organisations in the South-East are still welcome to apply.

How will the UK benefit?

These new space projects will provide vital local anchor points for new businesses, research and investment, potentially creating hundreds of jobs in areas where they are most needed.

The UK space industry is growing organisations and careers all over the country, from Spaceport Cornwall to Glasgow Space City, and is worth about £17.5 billion, forming a crucial element of the UK Innovation Economy. Areas where the space industry is thriving are known as “space clusters”, hence the name of the fund.

The fund will help the government deliver on the goal it outlined in the National Space Strategy, to make Britain one of the world’s most attractive and innovative space economies.

The UK in space

While this is the government’s first dedicated fund for space infrastructure, it has previously invested on a case-by-case basis in projects like the National Space Propulsion Test Facility.

Organisations can use the facility, located in Westcott, to test satellite propulsion engines more cheaply in the UK rather than having to go abroad. And the new National Satellite Test Facility opening in Harwell this year will boast the biggest vacuum test chamber in the UK, capable of exposing double-decker-bus-sized satellites to extreme cold and heat for months at a time, as well as a vibration facility that can simulate a rocket launch.

As well as SCIF, the government also invested £1.84bn in November in UK space and commercial satellite projects through the European Space Agency.

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