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Thruster tech, folding solar arrays get UK Space Agency funding

UK Space Agency university
Image credit: Shutterstock

University projects working on thrusters, folding solar arrays and satellite quantum key distribution are amongst those sharing a £2.1m funding pot from the UK Space Agency.

The UK Space Agency is investing £2.1m across eight separate university projects and the Cardiff-based satellite firm Space Forge.

Craig Brown, director of investment at the UK Space Agency, said: “These projects showcase the diversity of skills in space-related science and engineering that are growing all over the UK.”

The full list of space projects are:

  • Lancaster University, £240,000: Wave tube amplifier for 5G and 6G.
  • Surrey Space Centre, University of Surrey, £250,000: Plasma torch rocket electrothermal thruster.
  • Swansea University, £250,000: Technology for levitated optomechanics.
  • University of Strathclyde, £250,000: Satellite quantum key distribution through UV micro-LEDs.
  • Durham University, £250,000: Metal optics for Earth Observation instrument concepts.
  • Durham University, £190,000: A EUV integral field spectrograph to monitor the sun.
  • University of Southampton, £240,000: Development of a novel beam steering chip for use in optical communications.
  • Imperial College London, £200,000: Cold spray metal additive for use in space.
  • Space Forge, £230,000: Folding solar array for reusable spacecraft.

In addition to the UK Space Agency’s backing, the projects will receive further funding rounds from companies, academia and not-for-profit organisations.

Rolls-Royce’s space reactor departed with £2.9m from the UK Space Agency earlier this year.