UK to build new satellite to help monitor climate change

A new satellite that will help scientists monitor climate change and natural disasters will be built and funded by the UK.

The country will join Portugal and Spain in the Atlantic Constellation project, which is developing a group of satellites to monitor the Earth.

The UK Space Agency is providing £3m for a new pathfinder satellite, with co-funding from Open Cosmos, based on the Harwell Space Campus in Oxfordshire.

It said the new satellite will provide "valuable and regularly updated data" on the planet.

It will also help detect, monitor and reduce the risk of natural disasters.

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, providing the data we need at speed, while supporting key UK industries like agriculture and energy.

"By working with Open Cosmos on a new satellite and supporting our Atlantic partners, Spain and Portugal, we can harness space tech for our shared goals, while creating new skills opportunities and jobs for the future to grow the UK economy."

Read more from Sky News:
SpaceX loses contact with Starship mega rocket after explosions
Astronauts accidentally drop toolbox during space walk

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

Earlier this year the UK Space Agency signed an agreement with Axiom Space, a Texas-based firm working on what it says will become the first-ever commercial space station.

A future flight carrying British astronauts would see them spend up to two weeks in orbit carrying out scientific experiments and participating in educational activities.