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Preparing for take-off: Shipley electronics business receives £200k funding boost for space technology development

Fast-growing Shipley technology business, Slipstream Engineering Design, has become one of just five organisations in the UK – and the only one in Yorkshire – to receive a share of £1million funding through the Space to Innovate Campaign – Bravo Drop, to develop technologies that enhance the UK’s ability to safely operate in space.

Slipstream Engineering Design has been awarded £199,054 for a project that aims to produce adaptable radio hardware for space applications. The funding was awarded through the Space to Innovate Campaign – Bravo Drop, a collaboration between the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the UK Space Agency and the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA).

Dr. Mike Roberts, Slipstream Engineering Design technical director and co-founder, says:
“The Space to Innovate Campaign aims to find and fund solutions to major space hurdles to promote space resilience and operational effectiveness. Bravo Drop is the second ‘challenge drop’, which invited innovators to submit technologies and solutions to help overcome specified challenges.

“Our solution is designed to improve the signal-to-noise performance of space-related communications and sensing capabilities. Currently, radio hardware is specifically designed to carry out a limited range of operations. On CubeSats, where payload space is at a premium, having hardware that can carry out multiple communication and sensing operations would be a major advantage. Our aim is to produce an adaptable radio platform which is software configurable and can switch between different types of wideband radio waveforms.”

The Bravo Drop funding follows hot on the heels of the company’s attendance at the Farnborough International Air Show last month, as a partner of Team Tempest,
the enterprise working to create the UK’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

Commercial director Sarah Gregory explains: “Team Tempest is a technology initiative aimed at advancing combat air technology, involving the Ministry of Defence and UK industry partners including BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo UK and MBDA UK. It is a highly ambitious programme requiring the design and development of many ‘world firsts’ in aviation, with a flying demonstrator on track for delivery in five years’ time.

“Through our work with Leonardo UK, we are contributing specialised digital radio frequency expertise to the project, allowing cutting edge technologies to be developed at speed. The business has a proven heritage in accelerated product research and development that will help to realise this next generation capability for the UK.”

Sarah says the Bravo Drop funding has come at an extremely exciting time for the company: “Being part of the Future Combat Air System development programme is an absolute privilege, and to have our expertise recognised by the Space to Innovate Campaign is another huge win for the business.

“A core part of both these initiatives is to bring on the next generation of technologists and innovators. Both programmes require us to drive the development of new skills and expertise. We are deeply committed to nurturing talent in our field of digital radio frequency, and we have a proven model for accelerating career development. The Bravo Drop funding and our involvement in the Team Tempest are giving us the confidence to grow and invest, and we are on track to create many highly skilled jobs in our region and sector.”

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(L-R) Slipstream Managing Director and Co-Founder Philip Wilson; Commercial Director Sarah Gregory; Technical Director and Co-Founder Dr Mike Roberts.

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Notes to Editors About the Space to Innovate Campaign – Bravo Drop The five projects awarded Space to Innovate Campaign – Bravo Drop funding to fast-track their novel ideas are: • Slipstream Engineering Design Ltd, Bravo Drop funding: £ 199,054 • AltaRange Ltd, Bravo Drop funding: £117,700 • Fraunhofer UK Research Ltd and Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, Bravo Drop funding: £318,152 • Astroscale, Bravo Drop funding: £ 196,466 • AVoptics Ltd, Bravo Drop funding: £195,920 The Space to Innovate Campaign – Bravo Drop follows on from the Alpha Drop, where £1.6 million worth of contracts were awarded to eight UK organisations to support the identification of visualisation tools to enable space operators to exploit information gathered from multiple data sources, and novel methods for characterising objects in space and their intent. Learn more here. This is incorrect – needs to be (or maybe bravo as well as alpha??) Space to Innovate Campaign – Bravo Drop: Competition Document – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) About Slipstream Engineering Design Ltd www.slipstream-design.co.uk Slipstream Engineering Design Limited is a Radio Frequency & Digital Design company providing engineering services and contract manufacture to the Communication, Aerospace and Security industries. Founded in 2011, and based in Shipley, West Yorkshire, Slipstream Engineering Design has a strong customer base of major Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) who come to the company for its hands-on and flexible approach to design and development. The company has a pedigree and proven track record in markets such as radar and transponder systems, high power, high frequency RF amplifiers, wireless communications, and industrial products. The majority of projects deliver prototype hardware or software, but the company’s experienced team also take products through to volume manufacture. About the Space to Innovate Campaign The space domain, which includes satellites and space-based services, is vital to modern life, enabling a range of civilian and military activities. Any form of disturbance to UK space capabilities, whether that is natural or intentional, can cause a severe disruption to UK prosperity. The Space to Innovate Campaign seeks proposals that can maintain the UK’s freedom of action in the space domain by developing future space technologies that enhance and protect space military and civil potential. The campaign format is unique from other DASA competitions and comprises space-related challenges that are released periodically.

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