The UK Space Agency (UKSA) and the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) are undertaking an Earth Observation Mission Capability Review (EOMCR).
The EO Investment Package (announced in December 2022) includes a £15m uplift in funding for the UK’s national EO technology programme over the period to March 2025. Whilst the EOMCR questionnaire itself is not a proposal for funds, the results will enable UK Government to target upcoming support for the sector. The findings will be used to design restricted competitions and competitive Announcements of Opportunity for grant funding through CEOI; beyond this, they will provide a key piece of evidence to help the UKSA, DSIT and wider government make the case for further investment in EO missions and instrumentation development.
The EOMCR will seek to understand the nature and current status of civil EO mission concepts being developed in the UK, for any ownership model or any purpose. This could include national missions, European Space Agency (ESA) mission candidates, bilateral or other international collaborative missions (outside of ESA), or fully commercial missions. They could be scientific, operational, or commercial in nature, or a combination thereof.
The completed EOMCR questionnaires will enable a strategic overview of the range and scale of the ambitions of the UK EO sector for new missions and instrumentation. The questionnaire will capture information on the ‘size and shape’ of potential missions, including rough order of magnitude (ROM) costs. The responses will be subject to peer review to ensure a robust assessment of user needs, plausibility, viability, and affordability. The results will enable an analysis of:
- Missions which are mature in concept, with partners in place, which could progress rapidly to a flight build and launch should funding be available;
- More speculative missions which are at an early stage and with interest from partners, which could benefit from further study feasibility studies and/or Technology Readiness Level (TRL) raising;
- The nature of any support that might be sought from government over the life of the mission, ranging from early stage technology development through to post-launch purchasing of data.
Responses will be considered within UK Government but will not be published, in order to protect commercial sensitivity. A high-level, commercial IP-free summary will be made available in due course.
UPDATED: The closing date for responses has been extended to Friday May 19th at 4pm.