When it comes to global development issues such as malaria, forced labour and human trafficking, you might not think that space would hold the answers - but it seems that this may, in fact, be the case after all, with the UK Space Agency using space to resolve problems such as these.
New funding to the tune of £3.4 million has just been made available for ten cutting-edge projects by the International Partnership Programme, designed to use space expertise in satellite technology and data services to deliver solutions to real-world problems.
To help tackle the problem of malaria, satellites and airborne and ground-based sensing technology will be used to detect breeding grounds for mosquitoes, supporting efforts to tackle the disease at its source. Sprayer drones can then be used to release biocontrol agents and kill larvae without affecting other species.
Space solutions will also be used to help protect wildlife habitats in Kenya, as well as improving resilience to flooding in Bangladesh, with the region suffering the most prolonged monsoon rains in decades.
A new National Space Innovation Programme was also recently launched, with £15 million in funding made available for projects relating to earth observation, communications and international partnerships.
The first £10 million will go towards projects focusing on the development of more advanced instruments and data analysis techniques to support climate science, and communications projects such as autonomous vehicles, AI and robotics, with satellite communications filling in the gaps in connectivity in remote areas.
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