UK electro optics firms get share of government's £2.5m

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Electro optics companies are to share in a £2.5 million pay out by the UK government to support the nation's space industry develop products and services using space technology.

Chelmsford-based e2V Technologies and Glasgow's M Squared Lasers are two of the 22 UK companies that are to benefit from the £2.5 million. The funding is coming from the UK Space Agency, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), and the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA). It will support 28 research and development projects, each lasting between six and nine months. The TSB supports business innovation for the government, while SEEDA is a regional development agency that is to be closed down under the government’s plans for such agencies.

With match funding by the UK companies the total spend will be about £5 million. The projects will cover novel propulsion for small satellites, known as cubesats; technology to exploit the European Union’s Galileo satellite navigation system; and techniques for crop monitoring from space.

The other companies selected include small satellite manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technology, aerospace firm EADS UK, software firm Logica, Portsmouth based SSBV Space and Ground Systems and Oxfordshire’s spaceplane developer Reaction Engines. The £2.5 million investment forms part of the UK Space Agency’s National Space Technology Programme, which will spend £10 million to help UK industry exploit growth opportunities in the space sector and improve the UK’s space technology capabilities.

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