UK Space Agency Gives Financial Backing to Propulsion, Imaging & PV Projects

04 July 2023

Funding is being provided by the UK Space Agency to support a series of British engineering projects, as part of the agency’s Enabling Technologies Program.

A total sum of £2.1 million will be spread across 9 different projects being conducted by academia and private companies. These will cover everything from photo-voltaic (PV) power and optoelectronic systems to novel forms of propulsion. 

Among the funding recipients are: 
•Wales-based Space Forge’s Project Helios, which is developing a retractable solar array, in partnership with Microlink Devices, to power returnable spacecraft and enable in-orbit servicing for prolonging the life of space-deployed satellites.  
•A team at Durham University that is developing image slicer technology for a world-first integral field spectrograph in the extreme ultra-violet spectrum - for Sun observation and high-energy astrophysics research.  
•A plasma torch rocket electrothermal thruster, being developed at the Surrey Space Centre, to enhance spacecraft propulsion and manoeuvring.  
•A University of Strathclyde project on ultra-violet microLEDs - to provide low-power, robust sources for satellite quantum key distribution, in order for securely encrypted communications to be achieved.  

As Craig Brown, UK Space Agency Director of Investment, commented; “These projects showcase the diversity of skills in space-related science and engineering that are growing all over the UK. By supporting innovations in emerging and new areas of space technology, such as space-based solar power, extreme ultra-violet integral field spectroscopy, electrothermal propulsion and more, we ensure that the UK stays at the forefront of global advances in space, generating more business opportunities and inspiring more people about the many career options that this thriving sector offers.” 

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