Space: the “affordable” military frontier for the UK…

Britain is looking for new technology that could lead to a “step change” in its military spaced-based capability. 

Defence research officials have drawn up a list of “novel” technologies that they are interested in: 

  • Technologies providing wide-area surveillance combined with ways of detecting small objects of interest. 
  • Technologies providing very frequent or persistent coverage to observe short-lived events 
  • Methods for detecting concealed objects 
  • Technologies to provide secure communications using hand-held terminals from hard-to-reach locations 
  • Secure use of existing commercial space infrastructures 

They are also interested in cutting build and operating costs without reducing reliability of systems. 

In terms of efficiency, the officials are interested in “novel” platform technologies, including on-orbit propulsion and power systems – but not including launch. There’s also interest in novel payload technologies, including deployable structures. 

A competition for £1 million research funding into “affordable” space-based capability has been launched by the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE), which is part of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory – which in turn is an executive agency of the Ministry of Defence. 

This is what the webpage states: “This CDE themed competition seeks proof-of-concept research proposals for novel technologies that could lead to a step change in UK military space-based capability or substantially reduce the cost of the systems. 

“This competition will fund exploratory studies and demonstrations to develop concepts and technologies required for delivering a UK space-based military capability.  

“A smaller number of successful projects will be taken forward for further development.” 

The competition opens in October 2014 and closes in January 2015. 

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