A new drive to fund space-enabled technology and services that can strengthen the NHS response to coronavirus has been launched today by the UK Space Agency.
The UK space industry is well placed to support the unprecedented national effort to overcome the biggest threat the UK has faced for decades.
Satellite data and drone technology can help meet challenges such as delivering test kits, masks, gowns and goggles, managing infectious disease outbreaks and supporting the health and wellbeing of the nation.
An initial £2.6m is being made available to fund a number of projects to develop hi-tech solutions to these challenges, in a joint initiative with the European Space Agency (ESA) in support of NHS England.
The NHS – like any health service around the world – only has a limited number of doctors, nurses, and specialist equipment. In addition to lifting capacity of the NHS and asking everyone to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus, the Government has called on industry and the UK’s world-leading universities to back the national effort, developing technology and equipment – from hand sanitiser to ventilators – to support the NHS.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “From new advanced software helping speed up cancer diagnoses to satellite communications connecting GPs to patients virtually, the UK space sector has been world-leading in applying its innovations to supporting our brilliant NHS.
“This new funding will ensure that the latest innovations will be on the frontline of tackling the unique problems the coronavirus outbreak has created, helping medical staff to focus on delivering world-class care.”