UK-Autonomous and Connected Earth Network Launches to Unite Communities through Space Technology

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Today marks the launch of the second Satellite Applications Catapult funded Connected Capability Network (CCN) which aims to unite communities across the UK, enabling them to harness the benefits of satellite data and space technology.

The UK Autonomous and Connected Earth (UK-ACE) CCN will advance the reach and impact of satellite data and space technology across the UK, emphasising the pivotal roles connectivity and autonomy applications play on Earth. The UK-ACE network will work with stakeholders across space and adjacent sectors by hosting engagement events and activities to help catalyse collaboration and investment opportunities using autonomy and connectivity technologies.

The purpose of this CCN is to amplify the Catapult’s Mission: Innovate for better world, empowered by space with the UK-ACE network championing the integration of satellite and terrestrial networks, ensuring seamless connectivity for all, irrespective of location.

The UK-ACE network will support those alongside the Catapult’s Autonomous and Connected Earth Missions.  It will be delivered by mapping and engaging new partners and capabilities in and outside the space sector, bringing together expertise to drive forward innovation and finding new ways to work as a community and exploring collaborative opportunities.

Initially the network will focus on opportunities offered by the integration of space technology into a variety of connectivity and autonomy services, including:

  • Mobility, Navigation and Transportation
  • 5G/6G Non-Terrestrial Network (NTN)/Terrestrial Network (TN) Convergence
  • Photonics and Optical Communications
  • Quantum & Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Satellite Broadband

CCNs have been created by the Satellite Applications Catapult which has been instrumental in fostering growth within the UK Space Ecosystem since its inception in 2013. The CCNs will be coordinated by space clusters from across the UK and their partners working towards a common goal. The UK-ACE network launch follows a successful launch of the UK Earth Observation Network for Sustainability (UK-EONS) at the end of 2023 which emphasises and brings together Earth Observation technology to address sustainability challenges.

By building links between adjacent sectors and Space Clusters, the CCNs will contribute to growth in the UK Space Ecosystem by developing communities to support the delivery of the National Space Strategy. CCNs achieve this by facilitating the translation of research and development into commercial opportunities for the UK space sector and by strengthening community activity throughout the UK.

Dr Nafeesa Dajda, Director for National Capability at the Satellite Applications Catapult commented:

“Developing a vibrant UK Space Ecosystem remains a primary focus of the Satellite Applications Catapult. With the launch of the second CCN, we bring together space industry capabilities from around the UK and create opportunities for people to work together on connectivity and autonomy applications. The CCN will foster robust ties between academia and industry, identify partnership opportunities, and enable knowledge exchange between those driving forward innovation in autonomy and connectivity for the Space sector”.  

Barbara Ghinelli, Director, Innovation Clusters and Harwell Campus, UKRI-STFC commented:

“The Harwell Space Cluster is excited to work with Space Clusters in the North West, Northern Ireland, North East, Cornwall, Space East and ARC for Space to leverage the best of our collective capabilities, including our Campus’ world leading multidisciplinary and cross-sectorial expertise, under the theme of Connected and Autonomous Earth. Through this collaboration, we look forward to building a new and dynamic network that will drive forward innovation at the national level”.

UK-ACE Partners

UK-ACE, is part funded by the Satellite Applications Catapult, led by the Harwell Space Cluster – Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and delivered by consortium of partners across Space Clusters on behalf of the UK Space Ecosystem:

  • Arc for Space
  • Cornwall Space Cluster
  • North West Space Cluster
  • Northern Ireland Space
  • Space East
  • Space North East England