Six UK space sector operators have secured a share of over £2 million of government funds to help develop the UK’s satellite navigation and timing network.
The six businesses, namely Airbus, CGI, Sirius Analysis, GMV NSL, Immarsat and QinetiQ will help protect the country’s Critical National Infrastructure by helping develop system design and operations, signals and algorithms, resilience, assurance and cost modelling for the UK Space Agency’s Space Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Programme.
The country is heavily dependent on position, navigation and timing [PNT] information provided by satellite navigation systems within the fields of transport communications, energy distribution and emergency response. Satellite navigation systems function by sending signals from space which smart devices can use to determine their location and time zone.
Services provided by satellite navigation systems are essential to everyday public life and the National Security, defence and transport sectors are largely dependent upon them.
The government funding secured for the system’s upkeep will be critical for the UK’s future, according to the Space Agency’s deputy CEO Ian Annett.
Annett said: “This initial funding will help us design options for a new system to support our critical national infrastructure, whilst growing the space sector, boosting economic growth and making daily life more secure for people everywhere in the UK.”
The Space Agency’s satellite navigation programme which first launched in October 2020 is exploring new ways of bringing a space sat-nav capability to Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The programme is due to advise the government later in the year on what tangible options there are for a space-based solution to improve the nation’s PNT capabilities.
The programme is not only set to benefit the UK’s thriving space sector, but also forms part of the government’s push for a more outward-looking and ‘Global Britain’.