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Referral of the Connectivity in Low Earth Orbit Programme by the UK Space Agency (UKSA)

The Subsidy Advice Unit (SAU) has accepted a request for a report from the UK Space Agency (UKSA) concerning the proposed Connectivity in Low Earth Orbit (C-LEO) Programme.

The SAU has accepted a request for a report from the UKSA concerning the C-LEO Programme. This request relates to a Subsidy Scheme of Particular Interest.

The SAU will prepare a report, which will provide an evaluation of the UKSA’s assessment of whether the subsidy/scheme complies with the subsidy control requirements (Assessment of Compliance). The SAU will complete its report within 30 working days.

Information about the scheme provided by the UKSA

The Connectivity in Low Earth Orbit (C-LEO) scheme is designed to secure British R&D leadership in Satellite Communications (Satcoms), support economic growth and ensure that companies across England, Wales and Scotland are able to compete in the rapidly growing global market for these technologies. It will provide up to £93.75 million of grant funding support (with funding potentially continuing to February 2028) aimed at developing technology with a commercial pathway into the growing Satcoms sector.

Applicants will be able to apply individually or as part of a consortium and request funding for up to £25 million per project, with the percentage of project costs eligible for funding based upon the size and nature of the organisations involved. For large enterprises this will be 25%, for medium enterprises 35% and small enterprises 45%, with an additional 15% made available where projects demonstrate effective collaboration.

The competition will be open to proposals that demonstrate a commercial pathway for the technology to partake in Low Earth Orbit technologies, the key areas that have been identified as strategically meeting the programme objectives are:

Advanced payloads:

  • the ‘communication hub’ & most advanced system within a LEO satellite, consisting of on-board digital processing and supporting systems

  • this is most complex and highest value component of a satellite

Optical intersatellite links:

  • a more secure and flexible way for satellites to transmit data between themselves and ground stations

Software and networking:

  • AI to ensure satellites stay in position, and software that can be updated in orbit (critical to enabling LEO signal to be utilised in communication networks)

User terminals:

  • what users (institutions or individuals) connect their devices to

Eligible costs will comprise personnel costs to the extent employed on the project, costs of equipment to the extent employed on the project, costs of subcontracting in relation to the project and other operating costs and overheads relating to the project. All costs must be incurred through the delivery of the project to be considered eligible.




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