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An Oxfordshire-based space tech firm, OpenCosmos, will join forces with Portugal and Spain to build a new spacecraft that will help scientists monitor climate change and natural disasters. The UK Space Agency has provided £3 million for a new pathfinder satellite, which will be co-funded by Open Cosmos, based on the Harwell Space Campus at Didcot.

The country is set to join the Atlantic Constellation project, which is developing a group of satellites to monitor the Earth and provide early detection of climate change indicators. The new satellite is expected to provide “valuable and regularly updated data” on the Earth’s atmosphere, helping detect, monitor and reduce the risk of natural disasters like floods, droughts and hurricanes.

Andrew Griffith, minister in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, said: “Earth observation will play an absolutely vital role in tackling global challenges like climate change and disaster relief. This new satellite will provide us with valuable data at speed while supporting key UK industries like agriculture and energy.” By collaborating with Open Cosmos on a new satellite and supporting our Atlantic partners in Spain and Portugal, we can harness space technology for our shared goals while creating new skills opportunities and jobs for the future to grow the UK economy.”

The announcement was made on the opening day of the UK Space Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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