Cornwall Space Cluster gets funding boost from UK Space Agency

Cornwall Space Cluster has secured £292K of funding from the UK Space Agency to grow the cluster of businesses, organisations and assets in the region, by focusing on high impact projects, locally led schemes and space cluster development management.

Cornwall will use some of this funding to look at how space technology could be used to tackle water leakage and monitor coastal erosion and stability in the region.

Following Spaceport Cornwall’s and Virgin Orbit’s historic launch from UK soil in January, the funding will build on the region’s growing space capability.  The cluster manager role will continue to support businesses, building on Cornwall’s space data and technology expertise – allowing the region to deliver their local government space and data strategy.

Cornwall’s local government has welcomed the funding.

Councillor Louis Gardner, Cabinet Member and Portfolio Holder for the Economy said:

“Our aim is to continue to develop the space and data innovation sectors in Cornwall, so we are delighted to receive funding from the UK Space Agency. This will enable us to keep championing the Cornwall Space Cluster, and deliver our space and data strategy, so that Cornwall – and our businesses – get the recognition they deserve. Cornwall is developing a sustainable economy based on cutting edge technology, which will benefit the environment and provide an outstanding quality of life for all.”

Science Minister George Freeman said:

“These projects will tap into the wealth of talent found in places like Cornwall and the east Midlands, as well as across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, while using space and satellite technology to support local communities.

“This funding will help link local clusters to valuable networks of innovators and investors, showcasing the strengths of the UK space sector to international investors and levelling up the economy.”

The projects are focused on piloting local activity that could be scaled up and rolled out nationally and are being supported by the UK Space Agency’s delivery partner the Satellite Applications Catapult.

The funding follows £600,000 given to 10 space clusters across the UK in February 2022, including Cornwall, with some of those who received funding then getting further support this time round.

Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said

“Establishing a network of space clusters and high impact projects will accelerate the development of the thriving space ecosystem the UK needs to realise the full economic potential of space across the UK.

“We’ve been working with the regions to understand their strengths and the needs of their local space economies so that we can back these clusters of excellence to collaborate, grow and thrive.”

Part of this funding will support local areas to appoint Space Cluster Managers: individuals who will work with local government, businesses, and academia to coordinate space activity and encourage collaboration and inward investment.

These clusters will complement Harwell Space Cluster, in Oxfordshire, which is home to more than 100 space organisations, employing over 1,400 people.

Stuart Martin, Chief Executive Officer at the Satellite Applications Catapult said:

“We have a long-standing commitment to driving the growth of the UK space sector at a regional level and are delighted to continue our support for the delivery of this investment, with our focus on building a coherent space community.

This additional funding will help cement relationships across the UK’s space community while forging new collaborations with those not yet utilising and benefiting from space data and technology. We look forward to ensuring that the sector as a whole takes advantage of the opportunities presented through these locally led initiatives and supporting a connected and thriving ecosystem.”