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Satnews Daily
December 9th, 2013

UK Space Agency—Establishing Global Partnerships (Business)

[SatNews] The UK Space Agency intends to build international partnerships using UK expertise—an £80m fund will create opportunities around the world for UK expertise in small satellites, satellite telecommunications and applications of space data, opening markets to UK business..

The new, five-year, Global Collaborative Space Program, announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement on December 5th, will allow the UK Space Agency to increase its international portfolio by fostering projects of mutual interest with other countries, with this initial tranche of funding focused on using space to assist in social and economic development. This new investment will be enabled by a series of Memorandums of Understanding between the UK Space Agency and international partner agencies. Projects within the program will be defined jointly with international partners, but may include applications of space data for development, collaboration on education and training for sector skills.

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, gave more detail about the program at the Appleton Conference last week and said, “Britain's expertise in space science, applications and training, as well as our technological lead in small satellites, make us the partner of choice for countries looking to develop their national capabilities. We are able, with this program, to open new markets around the world for British industry and share British expertise. I am delighted that we are able to deliver something that has been flagged as a priority by our scientific and technology communities.”

During the recent UK trade delegation to China, David Parker, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, signed an expanded Memorandum of Understanding with the Vice Administrator Zhang Jianhua of the China National Space Administration, witnessed by the Prime Minister and David Willetts. The agreement begins the process of identifying collaborative opportunities that have the potential to deliver real economic growth and social benefit for both countries.

Dr. David Parker, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said, “This new funding follows a very successful year of international collaboration by UK industry with countries such as Russia, Brazil and Kazakhstan. The Global Collaborative Space Program will allow us to build on this success story and its partnerships will play an important role in helping us reach our ambition to capture a £40 billion share of the global space market by 2030.”

The UK trade delegation to China also witnessed the signing of an agreement by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and DMCii with their Chinese partners 21AT for the launch of a high resolution Earth observation service following a £110M contract signed in 2011.  SSTL also signed an agreement with the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) for potential collaboration on satellite applications and training.  

The Global Collaborative Space Program will also address a key recommendation of the ambitious Space Innovation and Growth Strategy’s Action Plan—a set of proposed measures, published in November 2013, is designed to enable the UK to develop an even more supportive business environment for space companies to deliver growth and benefit to the national economy. The £80 million of funding for the GCSP will support the plan’s recommendations to improve collaboration with nations across the world and enhance the UK’s competitive edge in export markets.