British entrepreneurs could have their business ideas tested out on the International Space Station thanks to a new funding contest.
The UK Space Agency will provide funding and the first space flight for the winning concepts, which could be anything from medicines and innovative materials developed in microgravity, to space-flown consumer products.
The global space sector is changing rapidly and we want the UK to be at the forefront of the commercialisation of microgravity, as part of our vision to lead the new space age. – Emily Gravestock, Head of Applications Strategy at the UK Space Agency
Matched funding of up to £1 million is available via the UK Space Agency from the European Space Agency’s Business Applications Space Solutions fund. The announcement was made during World Space Week, which runs from 4 to 10 October.
Emily Gravestock, Head of Applications Strategy at the UK Space Agency, said:
“The global space sector is changing rapidly and we want the UK to be at the forefront of the commercialisation of microgravity, as part of our vision to lead the new space age. This funding could help open up whole new markets, create jobs and growth here on Earth and attract investment to support future research and exploration activities.”
The environment of the ISS, where astronauts and objects float weightlessly, offers a great opportunity to investigate novel materials, life science R&D and new technologies.
The European Space Agency is establishing a Business in Space Growth network in order to help build demand for low Earth orbit opportunities, particularly around the ISS. The network will bring together service providers and customers, augmented by additional funding sources in one programme with the aim to boost commercial research and applications in Space – and this call is supporting this initiative.
The deadline for entries is 20 November 2019 – the 21st birthday of the ISS.