A new UK space industry consortium has launched the ‘Open Innovation – Space’ initiative to increase small and medium enterprises (SMEs) engagement in future Satcom services.

The consortium is formed by aerospace company Airbus, along with KBR, Leidos UK, Northrop Grumman and QinetiQ.

By involving SMEs, the initiative expects to expedite regional recovery by expanding potential investment in new solutions and ideas.

It is also expected to generate high-value jobs and growth across the region.

Airbus Defence and Space UK managing director Richard Franklin said: “The space industry will play an increasingly important and visible role in the economic recovery of Britain, underpinning not only critical national infrastructure but also day-to-day services such as weather forecasting and satellite navigation.

“As space services and applications continue to expand and touch everyone’s lives even more, we are calling on SMEs to engage with us further to see how we can bring greater innovation and new ways of thinking in future Satcom services to grow the UK’s space capability and industrial expertise.”

In a separate development, Airbus Defence and Space was contracted by the European Space Agency (ESA) for the next phase of the study contract (Advanced B2) for the advanced Sample Fetch Rover.

The rover will collect samples from the surface of Mars.

In March, Airbus secured a contract to build the third European Service Module (ESM) for the Orion spacecraft.