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ESA offers the UK alternatives to Copernicus project

An artist’s impression of one of Copernicus’ Earth monitoring satellites in orbit. Credit: ESA

Dublin, 17 June 2022. – Brussels may shut the UK out of the Horizon science programme and block the UK’s involvement in the EU’s Copernicus programme as part of post-Brexit trading agreements for Northern Ireland. Britain’s participation in the Euratom nuclear research partnership is also likely to change.

If Brussels does not allow it to take part, the UK government will relocate the €879 million originally set aside for Copernicus. In this case, the programme funded by the EU faces a budget shortfall that Brussels will have to resolve. Britain is looking at opportunities to expand its membership within the European Space Agency (ESA) in the event of being excluded from EU space missions.

There are many opportunities for the British space industry to invest in Earth observation (EO), crucial for climate change and environment monitoring. ESA alone has several alternative programmes in the planning that would fit the UK’s space strategy. These include a supercomputer model utilizing EO data to monitor and forecast natural and human activities. The Truths satellite is another possibility, measuring solar radiation reaching Earth.

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