UK space programmes to tackle global challenges

UK space programmes to tackle global challenges
Improved disaster response in Commonwealth states and tropical disease control are among the goals of new projects involving British space organisations.

Improved disaster response in Commonwealth states and tropical disease control are among the goals of UK space programmes and British space organisations, Science Minister Sam Gyimah announced today (8 February).

The Industrial Strategy highlights the importance of bringing together the UK space programmes and the UK’s world class research with business investment firms to develop technologies and industries of the future that benefit society, as well as the economy.

The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme uses UK space expertise to deliver innovative solutions to real world problems across the globe. These solutions help some of the world’s poorest countries, whilst building effective partnerships that can lead to opportunities such as growth prospects for British businesses.

What will the UK Space programmes do?

The projects are led by a diverse range of organisations from the UK’s growing space sector, from large companies such as Inmarsat and CGI, to start-ups such as Guildford-based Earth-i. The UK Space Agency and industry are working together to grow the UK’s share of the global space market to 10% by 2030.

Science Minister Sam Gyimah said: “The UK’s space sector is going from strength to strength. It pioneers new technology and provides jobs for 40,000. Today I can announce that the space sector’s capabilities are being put to use to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.

“The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme will help developing countries tackle big issues like disaster relief and disease control, while showcasing the services and technology on offer from our leading space businesses.”

Reducing the impact of natural disasters

There are 22 existing projects that are already deliver benefits, including a partnership between Inmarsat and the Philippines government to reduce the impact of natural disasters using satellite communications. This was called into action in December and January when tropical storms killed hundreds of people and displaced thousands more.

The project used British technology and expertise to help relief workers get information in and out of the disaster zones increasing the effectiveness of the response effort, helping save lives and restore infrastructure.

The UK Space Agency is also funding five Business Applications Ambassadors to work with industry across the UK.

Full list of new projects:

  • British Geological Survey, Nottingham: Modelling Exposure Through Earth Observation Routines (METEOR): EO-based Exposure, Nepal and Tanzania, Theme: Disaster Management;
  • Satellite Applications Catapult, Didcot: Space Enabled Monitoring of Illegal Gold Mining Theme: Mining;
  • EARTH-i Ltd, Guildford: ACCORD, Theme: Agriculture;
  • Rothamsted Research, Harpenden: EcoProMIS, Theme: Agriculture;
  • HR Wallingford, Wallingford: An integrated dengue early warning system driven by Earth Observations in Vietnam, Theme: Health;
  • Janus TCD, Stourbridge: Improved Situational Awareness In Fisheries (ISAIF), Theme: Illegal Fishing;
  • CGI, Leatherhead: Peatland Assessment in SE Asia by Satellite (PASSES), Theme: Forestry;
  • eOsphere Limited, Didcot: SIBELIUs: Improved resilience for Mongolian herding communities using satellite derived services, Theme: Disaster Management/Insurance;
  • United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR): CommonSensing;
  • HR Wallingford, Wallingford: Minimising the risk of tailings dams failures through the use of remote sensing data, Theme: Mining.

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