Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan has announced a £1.5 million investment in 12 ground-breaking space innovation projects…

The announcement marks the next step in the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) ‘Space to Innovate’ competition, which sought to find and fund new technologies that could improve the UK’s resilience, awareness and capability in space.

The competition, run on behalf of Dstl by the Defence and Security Accelerator, the MOD’s innovation hub, received more than 60 bids from innovators around the world. The successful entries cover the full spectrum of innovative ideas, from state-of-the-art imaging technology to futuristic optical communication technology.

The announcement was made by Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan at the UK Space Conference, which brings together government, industry and academia to discuss the challenges and opportunities offered by space. She said:

“It’s vital we harness the ideas of the brightest and best innovators to improve the UK’s resilience and awareness in space. Faced with growing threats to UK interests, programmes like those selected today will boost our intelligence capability and help us stay ahead of our adversaries.”

The successful bidders will share more than £1.5m of funding, provided jointly by Dstl and the UK Space Agency’s National Space Technology Programme, to further develop the concepts. Key challenges outlined in the competition include the development of technology to boost the surveillance capability of UK satellites and identify potentially hostile actors in space.

Gary Aitkenhead, Dstl’s Chief Executive, said: “Our role at Dstl is to provide innovative solutions, underpinning science and technology to access the best space has to offer for defence and security, but also to protect our interests against growing threats.

“I am delighted that the competition has unearthed a breadth of UK expertise from a good mix of industry, academia, and SMEs. And I welcome the UK Space Agency’s investment which will ensure that the civilian market will also benefit.”