The core of the UK Space Agency strategy is to lead and sustain the growth of the UK Space Sector. In support of this the National Space Technology Programme (NSTP) promotes the development of new commercial and scientific applications by offering grant funding for truly novel concepts to be fully explored.
CubeSats offer huge potential to accelerate technology development of sensors and instruments in a miniaturised package for deployment in space. New technology concepts for space missions can be demonstrated on CubeSat payloads, delivering a test bed at low cost and significantly reduced timescales. The CubeSat is a relatively new concept, which is maturing rapidly, in which the UK has existing leading capability.
This NSTP programme is to facilitate the acceleration of space technologies up the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) curve but can also attract new players into the space sector by offering a low cost route to getting flight heritage. To follow, the NSTP Pathfinder studies programme is to be released in early 2012 and will be specifically to develop technology concepts.