The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and the UK Space Agency (UKSA) will investigate ways to collaborate more closely.
Dstl Chief Executive Paul Hollinshead (left) and UK Space Agency’s Chief Executive Paul Bate in front of satellite groundstation at Portsdown West.
Courtesy Dstl / UKSA / gov.uk
The initiative follows the first visit by the UK Space Agency’s Chief Executive Paul Bate to Dstl’s space facilities at its Portsdown West site near Portsmouth, where he met Dstl Chief Executive Paul Hollinshead and senior members of its Space Systems Programme.
The two organisations are responsible for separate but complementary UK government activities in space under the National Space Strategy. Dstl’s Space Systems Programme has expanded significantly in recent years, supporting UK Space Command and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) more generally with research and development (R&D), particularly in space domain awareness (SDA) and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).
The first satellite launch from the UK later this year by Virgin Orbit from Spaceport Cornwall has resulted in increased contact across many levels of both organisations, which is expected to continue as the UK grows its commercial satellite launch market and builds additional capabilities.
There are benefits to working together to develop new technologies and deepen the specialist expertise found across Dstl and the UK Space Agency, which were discussed at the meeting.
Dr Paul Hollinshead, Dstl Chief Executive, said: "This is an ideal time to deepen the collaboration between two of the UK’s leading space research organisations. Many of the space innovations being developed today will have dual-use application for both the defence and civil sectors.
"Pooling our expertise could widen the adoption of these technologies to bring them into use faster and cheaper while fuelling the growth of our specialist suppliers."
Dr Paul Bate, CEO of the UK Space Agency, said: "It was a privilege to visit the advanced facilities at Dstl and discuss areas of mutual collaboration, to inform the development of new space capabilites.
"The National Space Strategy recognises the huge potential for dual-use applications in areas such as secure communications and Earth observation, and we value the support of our defence partners in the preparations for the first satellite launches from the UK.
"We also share a common desire to inspire the next generation to reach for the stars and support the talent of tomorrow."