Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Rolls-Royce gets UK Space Agency backing

Rolls-Royce has secured funding from Phase 2 of the UK Space Agency’s International Bilateral Fund (IBF). The funding enables strategic research partnerships within the UK space sector and emerging space nations to work together.

The new £1.18 million award from the Fund backs collaboration to identify and advance the optimum technologies for a fission nuclear system, benefitting both UK and U.S. space nuclear development programmes for a range of space power missions.

Rolls-Royce is collaborating with U.S. firm BWXT Advanced Technologies LLC (BWXT) to deliver this phase of development, which has been cemented in a Teaming Agreement between the two companies.

The agreement facilitates business collaboration and joint developments of new and novel nuclear applications in the space domain, which utilise the core nuclear design and manufacturing strengths of each party.

This agreement further strengthens UK and U.S. collaboration on first-of-a-kind space technology innovation, as detailed under the Atlantic Declaration commitment. In an announcement made by UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak and U.S. President, Joe Biden on 8th June 2023, both countries pledged to study “opportunities for co-operation on space nuclear power and propulsion.”

BWXT brings extensive experience in nuclear capability in the U.S. having manufactured nuclear components for over 70 years, complementing Rolls-Royce’s comparable experience in the UK. This synergy has built a strong strategic partnership, rooted in the successful delivery of nuclear projects for their respective countries over many decades.

Steve Carlier, President for Rolls-Royce Submarines Ltd, said: “We are delighted to win the award for the second phase of the International Bilateral Fund and to be continuing our collaboration with the UK Space Agency and our international project partner BWXT.

“The Teaming Agreement between Rolls-Royce and BWXT brings together over 130 years of safe and secure nuclear delivery on both sides of the Atlantic.

“This new agreement builds on our complimentary core competencies and market knowledge from our respective countries. This enables us to build upon our existing relationship and explore potential strategic relationships and business arrangements to further develop nuclear technologies and products for Space.”

Joe Miller, president of BWXT Advanced Technologies LLC, said: “BWXT and Rolls-Royce share a commitment to creating and delivering nuclear energy systems to explore space, support global security imperatives and generate clean energy.

“Today’s announcement, and our teaming agreement more broadly, allows our companies to use our complementary areas of expertise for this award and new opportunities to come.”

All space missions depend on a power source to support systems for communications, life-support and science experiments. Nuclear power has the potential to dramatically increase the duration of future space missions and their scientific value.

Nuclear power, effectively utilised in space, will deliver a step change in mission capability across an extensive platform of applications. Space micro-reactors are a solution to meet these requirements in a sustainable and resilient way, and this latest award from the UK Space Agency ensures the continued development of this technology.

Professor Anu Ojha, Director of Championing Space at the UK Space Agency, said: “Our International Bilateral Fund bolsters international collaboration that harnesses the UK’s national expertise, supports new space capabilities and catalyses investment. This exciting research by Rolls-Royce to develop space nuclear power is an opportunity to showcase the UK as a spacefaring nation.

“Innovative technologies such as this one could pave the way for continuous human presence on the Moon, whilst enhancing the wider UK space sector, creating jobs and generating further investment.”

This latest tranche of investment follows £2.9 million of funding awarded to Rolls-Royce from the UK Space Agency under the Lunar Surface Nuclear Power Contract and Phase 1 of the IBF project in 2023, which delivered an initial demonstration of a UK lunar modular nuclear reactor.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 pandemic having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £33.60 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.









Latest news

Related news

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close