Brexit Britain blasts off! UK space industry handed £38million US investment in major coup

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Type One has announced plans for a new $50 million (£38.33million) fund based in London to begin funding research and development projects in the UK and across Europe. The fund already has around $100million (£76.65million) of assets under management in the US and last year lead a funding round for Cardiff based satellite firm Space Forge. Founder of Type One, Tarek Waked, described picking London as “a no-brainer”, adding ” We are incredibly excited to support the UK space ecosystem and be able to support our portfolio more effectively through this new team.” Space has become one of the fastest-growing sectors for the UK, now worth around £14. billion a year.

Last month the Government unveiled its largest-ever research and development budget with the UK Space Agency set to see its funding grow to over £600million by 2025.

Some £2million of funding has already been announced by the agency for a range of projects including plans by Rolls-Royce to develop a power station in space.

Other projects include developing new imaging technology for use in future Mars expeditions and water purification systems to support crewed space missions.

It’s been widely hoped the development of space-focused technologies could also have benefits for life on earth with energy-focused innovations applicable to Net Zero targets and satellites playing a key role in improving communications and digital infrastructure.

Commenting on Type One’s latest plans CEO of the UK Space Agency Dr Paul Bate said: “We’re on a mission to catalyse investment into the UK space sector and I’m delighted to welcome Type One to London, following their hugely successful seed round for Space Forge.

“There is an incredible opportunity for global investors in British space entrepreneurs and SMEs.

“By drawing on the expertise of firms like Type One, we are turning the UK into one of the most innovative and attractive space economies in the world.”

As well as bringing more investment to the UK, Type One hopes the opening of its London office will also help support collaboration between the US, UK and the rest of Europe and build networks between operators and agencies.

A number of companies Type One has worked with in the US are also now eyeing up the UK as the next step in expansion.

Among these are Gravitics, who are developing humanity’s first artificial gravity system, and Orbit Fab, who focus on technologies such as satellite re-fuelling.

Founder of Gravitics Colin Doughan said: “The UK and European markets are at a key moment of acceleration as new space becomes more of a commercial opportunity.

“We are excited to create new opportunities and grow our company within this ecosystem of support being spearheaded by Type One.”

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While the UK has made big advances in space-based technologies such as satellites it still suffers from a reliance on other countries for launches.

Such issues were highlighted following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine when part UK Government-owned satellite firm OneWeb was forced to cancel launch plans after being banned from using Russian rockets.

The UK is currently looking to build its own spaceports in the future with potential launch sites planned for locations including the Shetland Islands and Cornwall.

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