Space science grant programme supports atomic clocks and hair-breadth mirrors
UKRI hands out almost £500k to research institutions and specialist firms
Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/CC BY 2.0
The government has awarded almost half a million pounds in grant funding to projects aimed at developing technology for potential use in future space missions.
UK Research and Innovation has committed a total of £455,000 to 10 projects.
This includes £50,000 to support work by Queen’s University Belfast to explore the possibility of putting into space telescopes that feature “digitally controlled small-scale mirrors, which are smaller than the width of a human hair”.
Cambridge University, meanwhile, has received £50,000 to investigate “low-frequency radio cosmology aimed at studying the mysterious early universe – [including the] dark ages and cosmic dawn”.
The University of Glasgow is another institution to receive £50,000. This money will further its research into how “ultrasonic vibration” could help solve the challenges of drilling in low-gravity environments.
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Commercial companies are also among those to receive an endowment, including London-based TwinParadox Ltd, which has been awarded £36,500 to put towards its work to develop “a rubidium atomic clock for tests of fundamental physics”, which UKRI indicated rely upon “extremely precise time measurement”.
Science minister George Freeman expressed his hope that “these new projects will ensure the UK continues to grow as a global science superpower”.
“The UK’s space and satellite technology sector is already worth over £16bn and growing fast,” he said. “Our UK Space Agency is supporting hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises developing cutting edge technology.”
UKRI is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Its remit is to bring together the work of nine research councils “maintain and champion the creativity and vibrancy of disciplines and sector-specific priorities and communities”.
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