MoD announces £1 million investment for new space technology

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced a £1 million injection into future space technology for the development of a new generation of pioneering British deployable satellite antennas.

The 'wrapped rib' antenna will be lighter, less complex and more cost-competitive than those currently available commercially and will be developed in the UK by Oxford Space Systems.

The light weight of the antenna means it will be significantly cheaper to put into orbit than alternative technologies, which is a crucial factor in a sector where launch costs are high.

It will mean the UK is the first European country with the capability of a flight-proven parabolic deployable antenna, which will be used to meet the needs of fine-resolution Low Earth Orbit Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "It is vital that we have homegrown affordable technologies like this pioneering deployable satellite antenna to maintain a commanding military advantage over our adversaries and competitors."

SAR permits all weather Earth observation, irrespective of time of day or night and will offer unique advantages for both civil and defence applications. The technology will enable the UK to deploy a number of antennas in space, providing more accurate and frequent satellite images.

Image credit: OSS

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