Catapult joins Inmarsat to launch STARHub campaign championing UK space sector skills and services to enable growth in emerging economies



The Satellite Applications Catapult is managing a major digital platform that will help emerging nations benefit from the world-leading satellite applications and services that the UK space sector is creating.

STARHub, which is funded by the Inmarsat led “Pushing Digital Frontiers” programme as part of the UK Space Agency led International Partnership Space Programme (IPSP), aims to close the gap on access to satellite services for emerging economies.

Space technology enables many essential services in modern life and underpins international trade and commerce across developed nations, yet many emerging economies lack the opportunities to capitalise on this technology. The UK Space Agency has identified that these countries—often without fixed national infrastructures—would benefit significantly from exploiting the potential of satellites to fast-track growth.

STARHub will connect UK space sector skills and technology with in-country experts and programmes to develop international collaborations that deliver new satellite based services and infrastructure.  In turn, it is anticipated that STARHub will enable the UK to export more of its satellite services overseas.

To encourage new ideas and opportunities STARHub is launching an online platform “starhub.sa-catapult.co.uk” – that offers three core services to stimulate growth and build a community.

A Research Library will host the latest reports, best practice examples and success stories on the application of satellite technology. Additionally, a Capabilities Map will enable those with needs in emerging economies to pinpoint the relevant satellite service provider and allow the UK space sector to promote its expertise and find in-country programmes. To match needs with solutions, the Hub encourages the community to post and respond to information on project opportunities and requests for support.

Underpinning STARHub is a new research programme led by project partner and Global Development Advisors, Dalberg, which has conducted extensive research on the opportunities for exploiting satellite data and technology in several key markets.

Detailed analysis on four of the countries reviewed (Brazil, Philippines, Ethiopia and Nigeria) will be presented at the first STARHub workshop on 23 November in London. 

STARHub was created as part of the Inmarsat led “Pushing Digital Frontiers” project, an investment programme, funded by the UK Space Agency as part of IPSP, designed to use satellite communications that address the challenge of internet connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa. The main objectives of Pushing Digital Frontiers are to improve maternal and child health services in Nigeria and power the growth of digital business in Kenya.

Commenting on the launch, Chris Lee, Head of International Space Policy at the UK Space Agency said: “Our goal is to establish the UK as the partner of choice for countries who are acquiring or enhancing their own space or satellite infrastructure. STARHub is part of our proactive approach to developing international collaborations that are mutually beneficial, with the potential to deliver significant return and impact for both partners.”

James Cemmell, Head of Government Affairs at Inmarsat, added: “The STARHub partnership intends to build on the success of Pushing Digital Frontiers by expanding the prospects for satellite technology and services to aid communication, inclusive digital economy development in geographically disadvantaged areas, and high impact infrastructure modernisation, such as agriculture and environmental monitoring programmes.”

Sam Adlen, Head of Business Innovation at the Satellite Applications Catapult, commented: “STARHub will actively reach out to the Space sector and emerging economies, to build partnerships that generate growth.  We encourage every UK Space company to log on today, build their profile and start helping us promote their capabilities.”

STARHub is managed by the Satellite Applications Catapult and was developed and implemented through a partnership with Caribou Digital.  Pushing Digital Frontiers is funded by the UK Space Agency, as part of its IPSP, a £32 million investment for projects that support UK companies to become trusted partners in high-tech exports that develop the use of satellite technology in emerging economies.

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