UK INCREASE NATIONAL SOVEREIGN SPACE CAPABILITIES TO LEVERAGE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES
As initiatives are sparking in many countries to increase national space capabilities sovereignty, the UK is aiming for its domestic space industry to capture 10% share of the global space market predicted by 2030. The country is indeed planning on a new level of involvement in space missions with the unveiling of a £15 million fund for UK businesses to revolutionise satellite communications technology.
In parallel, the first orbital space mission from the UK is set to blast off from Cornwall with Virgin Orbit, after which the country will be expecting its first vertical launch. Indeed Orbex, which just secured £40.4M for its Series C funding round, counts down to launch its “Prime” rocket from the Space Hub Sutherland spaceport. Moreover, new facilities dedicated to the development of space technologies, such as the ones of Satellite Applications Catapult, are helping speed up companies’ prototyping process.
Another evidence of the UK space ambitions? The Department for International Trade, in collaboration with the UK Space Agency, Science & Technology Facilities Council and British High Commission in Singapore, are planning a UK space sector delegation to Singapore in February.
NEW ACTION LEVERS THAT ENABLE TO FURTHER PUT SPACE IN A COMMERCIAL CONTEXT
Creating new tailored contractual vehicles is key for space to truly become commercial. With this in mind, the European Commission funded the PROTECT project that aims to enable European public authorities to collaborate on joint pre-commercial procurement of climate services based on Earth Observation data in 2024.
But what if the main barriers for developing ambitious commercial business plans within the space sector are technological? For John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic, the key to the implementation of successful lunar commercial activities indeed lies in the ability to power up the moon, thus allowing lunar assets to operate indefinitely. Materials are yet another technological vertical in which innovation can revolutionise the space industry: a group of scientists led by Duke University have engineered a new class of materials that could achieve improved communications and thermal regulation in satellites technologies.
Moreover, in addition to putting in place all the right upstream technological levers, space businesses have to address downstream accessibility of their commercial services. In New Zealand, the first country’s satellite imagery marketplace has therefore been launched by Critchlow Geospatial. The company emphasises that its marketplace will take the hard work out of trying to keep up with the entrance of new providers. This is also a promise that is holding the Americans satellite imaging platforms SkyFi, which concluded a new partnership with SIIS access to KOMPSAT satellite images, or CAPE Analytics, that will integrate Maxar’s imagery to strengthen its Wildfire Intelligence product suite.