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UK Defence and Security Accelerator – Space to Innovate Campaign – Charlie Drop

Home / Funding Opportunity / UK Defence and Security Accelerator – Space to Innovate Campaign – Charlie Drop

UK Defence and Security Accelerator – Space to Innovate Campaign – Charlie Drop


DASA is seeking proposals addressing the following challenge areas:

  • Novel ways to achieve fine resolution collection for intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance (ISR)

Technologies and scientific techniques to achieve fine resolution imaging for space-based ISR / Earth Observation, especially from non-Low Earth Orbit (LEO). This includes in the following areas:

    • any part of the infra-red (IR) spectrum, from very near IR to long wave IR
    • synthetic aperture radar (SAR) – including achieving fine resolution with high signal to noise ratios (e.g. by achieving long dwell times, large antenna or high powers)
    • non-traditional parts of the electromagnetic spectrum (e.g. terahertz imaging)
    • novel solutions to achieving large optical apertures (or effective apertures); this includes innovative ways of deploying mirrors or antennae
  • Technologies and techniques to alert, protect and defend satellites

methods to provide warning of threats, and types of threats to critical Defence and Security assets in space, including:

    • techniques to quantify, characterise and / or maintain custody (i.e. maintain accurate object count and orbital parameters for each) of unresolved objects
    • technology and techniques to determine the functions and capabilities of potential threat systems
    • techniques to identify separating object events and payload deployments
    • techniques to qualitatively or quantitatively assess the ability of objects to perform manoeuvres
    • technologies to provide local situational awareness in the vicinity of key assets

technology for protecting satellites and avoiding hazards and threats, such as:

    • approaches to detection and attribution of emissions across the electromagnetic spectrum from natural and artificial sources
    • hardening of electronic and radio frequency systems in stressed space environments
    • on-board defensive technologies
  • Satellite and ground segment technologies for future Defence and Security operations

technologies for satellite platforms and ground segments of specific relevance to Defence and Security applications. Satellite technologies, and the development of the underpinning science required for both next generation, and generation-after-next Defence and Security applications, including:

    • science and technology to enable high-agility satellites and high positional self-knowledge, including pointing accuracy
    • integration of satellite functions (e.g. power and communications) to make platforms more resilient to disruption or degradation, including novel technological approaches to redundancy
    • technology approaches to providing high levels of assurance for LEO / Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite constellations. This includes protection of telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C) systems and also novel fault and interference detection
    • technologies for high demand power systems – moving from a solar power paradigm to other methods of power generation
    • secure exploitation of commercial ground station services in the non-civilian domain
    • pre-processing technologies and services deployed on EDGE Processors that optimise data distribution across low bandwidth networks
    • novel autonomous algorithms, technologies and applications to enhance satellite monitoring and control (reducing operator burden)
    • developing and deploying custom waveforms for transmission security (TRANSEC)

The total funding available for Charlie Drop is £1.5 million.  DASA expects to fund between 3 and 12 proposals over a 24 month period.

Successful projects will be funded at the following levels, depending on duration:

  • up to £125,000 for 6 months
  • up to £200,000 for 12 months
  • up to £400,000 for 18 months
  • up to £500,000 for 24 months

Funded projects are expected to achieve at least TRL 3 (proof-of-concept) to TRL 6 (demonstration in a relevant environment) by the end of contract. Solutions currently at or above TRL 6 in a civilian environment may be eligible for funding where the technology requires development to operate in a Defence and Security environment (potentially lowering the TRL).

DASA welcomes proposals from across the full range of innovators including academia, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and large companies, from both the UK and overseas. We also welcome joint bids which bring together the strength of different industrial or academic partners.

The campaign is open to innovators from both the existing space sector and those who have not traditionally worked in this domain. Previous experience of Defence and Security work is not a requirement.

Information webinar: 25 May 2023

Pre-bookable 1-1 telecom sessions: 31 May & 2 June 2023

Submissions due 12 July 2023.

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