Rolls-Royce leads new space station project on MOON- UK to make 'significant strides’


The UK is all set to be a global leader in the space industry, as new projects from the UK Space Agency are set to pioneer new approaches to energy, communications and machine learning. As part of British Science Week, Science and Innovation Minister George Freeman announced the £2 million boost for 13 new projects, which aims to inspire interest in and celebrate science, engineering, technology and maths for people of all ages.  

Among these projects is a plan by automaker Rolls-Royce to develop a power station for space that could power the generation of water, breathable oxygen and fuels for solar exploration.

The British carmaker will use its expertise in nuclear energy to continue the development of Space Reactor technology.

The British engineering firm is developing a uniquely deployable, safe, and autonomous Micro-Reactor for use in the space domain.

The technology being developed can also prove to be an asset to the Government’s Net Zero Strategy.

The high-power Space Reactor will provide a major boost to human exploration of the Moon, Mars and beyond, providing continuity of power for critical operations.

Additionally, this technology will power the generation of water, breathable oxygen and rocket fuels from human Lunar and Martian exploration missions.

Another project will focus on developing new imaging technology which can withstand the high radiation levels on Mars, allowing researchers to study it better.

A third project set to receive funding will involve building a communications tool for astronauts to tackle the delay in conversations between Mars and Earth.

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Engineers will also develop a robot that will search for resources such as oxygen and water in Moon rocks.  
 
Science and Innovation Minister George Freeman said:  “As we celebrate British Science Week, I am pleased to announce this £2 million package to support 13 new projects for the UK’s brilliant scientists and engineers to help us take significant strides in space exploration and discovery.
 
“In addition to discovery breakthroughs, these projects will also ensure that people here on Earth benefit from new technology, including micro-reactor technology with the potential to support our Net Zero commitments.”
 
Abi Clayton, Future Programmes Director, Rolls-Royce said:  “The support of the UK Space Agency has been instrumental in enabling the continued progress of the Rolls-Royce Micro-Reactor development programme.  

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“This shows the true value of public and private partnership as we bring together the space domain experience of the UK Space Agency with our own unique nuclear expertise. Together we can achieve ambitious technological firsts for the UK as we develop the power systems of the future.”
 
The UK is looking to be a pioneer in space exploration and has invested £180 million over five years in the European Space Agency’s global exploration programme in 2019.  
 
The UK, through Airbus, is leading on the Sample Fetch Rover, which will play a key role in the joint NASA/ESA Mars Sample Return mission – the first mission aiming to bring back samples of Mars to Earth.



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