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UKSA Opens Calls for Science and Technology Demonstrators

UKSA
Credit: UKSA

Ibadan, 23 February 2024. – The UK Space Agency has opened two new funding calls worth £15 million, one for science and another for technology demonstrators. The calls are in preparation for a tentative agreement to fly a team of four British astronauts on a commercially sponsored mission, potentially to the International Space Station (ISS).

The announcement follows the Memorandum of Understanding the UKSA and Axiom Space signed 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.

The calls aim to support UK-based researchers to design and execute scientific research that leverages microgravity and the space environment. As a result, proposals can be from any research area, but the Agency encourages proposals that align with the goals of the National Space Strategy, the UK Science and Technology Framework, and research priorities identified by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The technology demonstrator call will also support the UK’s exploration sector to test innovative technologies within a space environment. Furthermore, UKSA is particularly interested in technologies that support the National Space Capability Goals, the UK Science & Technology Framework and its five critical technologies: Artificial Intelligence; Engineering Biology; Future Telecommunications; Semiconductors; and Quantum Technologies, or that fall under the Agency’s Space Exploration Technology Roadmap categories.

Speaking on the calls, Annelies Look, UK Space Agency Deputy CEO, said, “To deliver the maximum potential benefits to the UK, we are opening funding calls for science experiments and technology demonstrators today, ahead of the potential UK astronaut mission.” The Deputy CEO also added, “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.

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