The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) Space Programme is seeking proposals that can aid UK Defence and Security to develop future space technologies. We are looking for innovative solutions that can address a series of challenges released in ’drops’ throughout 2021 and 2022. These challenges follow the output of various DASA space themed activities; including Space to Innovate Phase 1 and the International Space Pitch Day. Bravo Drop follows on from the first challenge drop, Alpha Drop, which launched earlier this year and is expected to have contracts awarded in autumn 2021.

The amount available for this campaign up to 31 July 2023 is expected to be £2m. This ‘campaign’ approach enables varied contract values and durations to be undertaken as part of the competition, which provides larger and longer contracts for more mature technologies, whilst also enabling less mature innovations to be explored. With appetite for an increased presence in space for the UK, there is a need for more technologies to support those future missions and endeavours. Be it improved data flow, better signal processing, or use of new materials in space – innovation in all areas is vital to meet the demands being faced by the domain.

Challenge drops will be open to applications from all suppliers and not just those that submitted successful bids in previous ones.

The objective of this campaign is to fund research into space technologies that may not otherwise be developed within the civil space industry. This will address a set of specific problems in the space domain, as outlined in the campaign challenges.

Funded projects are expected to achieve at least Technology Readiness Level (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).

This drop has 2 challenges – click here for further details of each challenge.

Challenge 1: Novel sensing and Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) technologies. This challenge seeks to develop technologies and demonstrations of novel sensing modes for the space domain for military and intelligence applications; both space-to-ground and space-to-space. DASA are also looking to develop enabling technologies for future sensing satellites.

Challenge 2: Novel approaches to significantly improve signal-to-noise performance of space-related communications, sensing, identification or tracking capabilities for use in Defence and / or Security applications. This challenge seeks to identify novel technologies, techniques, processes or algorithms that offer improvements to the overall signal-to-noise characteristics of electromagnetic systems used for Defence and /or Security space domain applications. DASA is interested in such methods for enhancing the performance of systems such as electro-optical, infra-red or radio frequency systems for communications, Earth Observation or space domain awareness (SDA) applications.

Proposals for funding to meet these challenges must be submitted by midday (GMT), 9 November 2021 via the DASA submission service for which you will be required to register.

A briefing event will be held on 24th September from 10.30am-noon: click here to register for a place. At the event, members of the Space to Innovate Campaign team will provide a brief overview of the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) and the Space to Innovate Bravo Drop competition, and will respond to pre-submitted questions from Slido, followed with the opportunity to ask questions in an open forum within the live event. If you have any questions about the Space to Innovate Campaign, please submit them via Slido, using the event code #S2IC. All responses will be included in an annex to the competition document, including any that the team are unable to get to on the day. Please note registration will close Wednesday 22 September 2021 at 6pm.