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Science and technology projects wanted for UK space mission

Posted on 25 Feb 2024 and read 752 times
Science and technology projects wanted for UK space missionTwo new funding calls — one for science and another for technology demonstrators — have opened, in preparation for an agreement being reached to fly a team of four British astronauts on a commercially-sponsored mission, potentially to the International Space Station (ISS).

While the commercial funding for projects is dependent on the mission proceeding, the UK Space Agency is giving scientists, innovators, and businesses the opportunity to submit proposals now to maximise the benefits of a mission in the near term.

Andrew Griffith, Minister for Space at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said: “There is huge potential for UK businesses to play an increasingly important role in space exploration and the development of new technologies. The £15 million funding calls mark a significant stride in our collaborative mission with Axiom Space, and I urge the UK science and technology community to use this opportunity to drive forward discovery and unleash innovation in critical technologies.”

Today’s announcement follows the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the UK Space Agency and Axiom Space in October 2023, which outlined the plans to pursue a commercially-sponsored UK astronaut mission, and an initial request for ideas for science and technology.

Annelies Look, UK Space Agency deputy CEO, said: “We want to keep the UK space sector at the forefront of scientific discovery and technological innovation, so this has been front and centre of our work with Axiom Space since October. To deliver the maximum potential benefits to the UK, we have opened funding calls for science experiments and technology demonstrators, ahead of the potential UK astronaut mission.”

Dr Lucie Low, chief scientist for Microgravity Research at Axiom Space, said: “Axiom Space is delighted to support the UK Space Agency in its efforts to solicit impactful scientific and technological development projects that can advance the goals of human exploration of space, as well as bring benefit to citizens on Earth.”