UK Space Agency Announces $79M of Funding for Space Tech

Image: Orbex

British space investment is getting another shot in the arm. 

The UK Space Agency announced Friday it will be funneling £65M ($79M) into early-stage space tech projects. 

Officials will distribute dollars through the newly established National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP). The allocations will prioritize high-risk, high-reward British programs, splitting funding between established projects and deep-tech startups. The first tranche will include £34M ($41.5M), with the remaining dollars doled incrementally over the next four years. 

NSIP’s goal is to support the development and improvement of commercial products, bring next-gen space tech to market, and create domestic jobs.

“Investing in these projects not only bolsters the UK’s seat at the table of the global space community, but it unlocks future business and job opportunities that will accelerate the growth of our nation’s £17.5B space sector,” said George Freeman, minister of science, innovation and technology.

Ponying-up: NSIP has already provided £25M ($30.5M) since the UK launched the program in 2020. Previous investments include:

  • SatVu, a thermal imaging company that launched its first satellite in June
  • Space Forge, an in-space manufacturing startup
  • Northumbria University, an institution building mini laser terminals for inter-satellite communication 

Across the pond: UK space businesses have nabbed 17% of global space private capital since 2015, making the nation the second leading country for space investment after the US. The UK is home to 1,500+ space businesses. Space-enabled products and services support 18% of the UK’s GDP. 

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