Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) has received £250k as part of the UK’s Space Industrial Plan. 

The funding was announced today (7 March) and was given to SSTL from the UK Space Agency’s flagship Space Clusters Infrastructure Fund (SCIF). The SCIF has already awarded companies within the UK space economy £47m to date. 

SSTL will use the funding towards a Research and Development Imager Cleanroom in Guildford, helping it to create satellite imaging technology. 

Imagine technology, described by SSTL as the “eyes” of the satellite, helps satellites more accurately map and monitor the Earth from space and the satellite’s surrounding environment. 

SSTL’s managing director Philip Brownnett stated that he was pleased with the funding. 

“By enhancing our optical Research and Development Cleanroom Facility, the new project will help address the growing need for space-based imaging equipment for a wide range of commercial, defence and governmental customers,” he said. 

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Brownnett stated that this would help SSTL boost the UK’s cutting-edge space research. 

The UK’s Space Industrial Plan is a joint civil-defence plan between the UK’s department of science, innovation and technology and its ministry of defence. 

“Our £250,000 investment in Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd underlines the key role this government sees for UK businesses in advancing global space capabilities,” said the UK’s minister of space Andrew Griffith, “Aligned with our new Space Industrial Plan, this funding will enhance SSTL’s research facilities so it can drive forward innovation in cutting-edge imaging technology, which is so crucial for satellite operations.” 

In its 2023 thematic intelligence report into the space economy, research and analysis company GlobalData highlighted the high investment barrier facing many private companies wanting to enter the space market. 

However technological advances in manufacturing, propulsion and rocket launches have enabled private companies’ entry to the space economy. 

In 2022, GlobalData noted that the space economy was worth $450bn, but by 2030 its market estimates suggest that figure could rise to between $760bn or $1trn.