UK Space Agency Earth Observation Technology Strategy – A Quick Overview


The 10-year vision is for the UK to be a world leader in new EO technologies


The UK Space Agency’s overall objective in Earth Observation is to maximise its potential for the economy, science and society. The four key objectives of the UK EO Technology Strategy are:

  • Economic Impact: Develop EO technologies which lead to increased exports and economic growth
  • Innovation: Keep the UK at the forefront of EO technology development by supporting new and innovative ideas that offer tangible benefit to future missions
  • Capability: Strengthen capability where the UK already leads, has the potential to build a lead or to overtake existing capability elsewhere
  • Return on UK Government Investment: Maximise the benefit to be derived from the UK funding to ESA and other institutional bodies

Strategy Overview

The strategy articulates UK technology aspirations in the ESA EO programme and in other national investment decisions in relation to EO. It is implemented through UK government actions, and through the Centre for EO Instrumentation technology development and added value programmes. The strategy was published in 2019.

The strategy builds on the strength and breadth of the existing UK technology capability in a highly competitive international environment, in areas including: passive microwave; UV/visible imaging and spectroscopy; IR imaging, radiometry and spectroscopy; SAR/radar technologies.

There is a growing demand for future EO missions, with a diversity of requirements and implementation pathways. This strategy is based on an understanding of the potential future EO mission opportunities and the strength of the user pull in different mission types – science, operational and commercial. These missions provide a basis for targeted technology development and to identify the priority EO community requirements.

The scope of the UK Earth Observation (EO) Technology Strategy covers the upstream technologies for future EO space missions. It will support the UK Space Agency in future investment decisions in EO technology, its influencing and convening power. It will help to ensure that the UK receives best return from the national and bilateral programmes, and from the investment in ESA and other European EO programmes. This will be achieved through the selection and development of technologies of greatest relevance to future EO missions, both ESA and non-ESA, including national, European and global commercial opportunities. The strategy also seeks to ensure continuing technological capability in areas of importance to the UK and support development of new and innovative ideas.

Strategy Development Scope

Source: UK government

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