Three innovative space projects in Scotland are sharing in £850,000 of UK Government funding.
The money is part of a wider package awarding 21 projects a share of more than £7 million to put the UK “at the forefront of the latest advances in space innovation”.
Funding is going to what are described as “high-risk, high-reward projects” that support companies and universities with radical ideas for how to tackle climate change through earth observation or address satellite communications challenges.
Two projects in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow will receive funding.
Dr Graham Turnock, chief executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “Space technologies have become deeply embedded in, and critical to, almost every aspect of our daily lives.
“With rapid technological innovation, space offers a broad and growing range of opportunities to support economic activity and protect the environment.
“From the satellites connecting our calls to the ones that tell us when to expect rain when we step outside, space technologies are fundamental to our day-to-day lives.
“Our space sector is constantly advancing and welcoming new ideas, and through this funding we are championing the best of this British innovation.”
One of the projects being awarded funding is the University of Edinburgh’s Data SlipStream project, which receives £214,543.
The project will develop and demonstrate data handling systems for use by organisations working on climate change mitigation.
These systems will have a further potential impact on agriculture, forestry, coastal, freshwater, urban and infrastructure domains.
The University of Edinburgh’s Global Lidar Altimetry Mission project receives £289,921.
The School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh will bring together expertise from Scotland’s growing space and photonics sectors to pioneer a new approach to space-borne lidar (light detection and ranging) using a laser compatible with a small satellite and, for smaller platforms, deployable optics to collect sufficient light.
Meanwhile, Glasgow-based Craft Prospect Limited receives £345,433 for development of a novel quantum laser payload.
The Responsive Operations for Key Services (Roks) project will demonstrate technologies for future secure telecommunication systems using quantum key distribution (QKD) and supported by artificial intelligence.
UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “The UK Government is committed to investing in innovation to cement the UK as a global leader in space.
“We are living during a very exciting time for the space industry. The Chancellor committed £14.6 billion in funding for R&D (research and development) in the Spending Review, which means investment in Scotland’s highly-skilled experts will continue to grow.”
The UK also remains a member of the European Space Agency.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “We want the UK to be a world leader in space technology, which is why we are supporting our most ambitious innovators who are developing first-of-a-kind technologies to help solve some of our greatest challenges.
“From slashing carbon emissions to protecting the UK’s critical services from harmful cyber-attacks, today’s funding will unshackle our most entrepreneurial space scientists so that they can transfer their revolutionary ideas into world-class products and services, while helping to boost the UK economy.”
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