Category Archives: General

If You Used UBER In 2016 Your Data May Be At Risk

In October 2016, Uber experienced a data security incident that resulted in a breach of information related to rider and driver accounts. 

Rider information included the names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers related to accounts globally. Their outside forensics experts have not seen any indication that trip location history, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, Social Security numbers or dates of birth were downloaded.

When this happened, they said they took immediate steps to secure the data, shut down further unauthorized access, and strengthen our data security.

The company paid the hackers $100,000 to delete the data and keep the breach quiet.

Uber fired Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan for his role and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who was not with the company at the time of the hack, said “none of this should have happened.”

The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said that Uber could face an investigation and even potential fines up to £500,000 “We will be investigating but as regards what actions we eventually take, that depends on what we find, and obviously it’s very early days at this stage,” an ICO spokesperson said.

What Should You Do ?

Uber said they do not believe any individual rider needs to take any action. They have seen no evidence of fraud or misuse tied to the incident. They are monitoring the affected accounts and have flagged them for additional fraud protection. 

They encourage all users to regularly monitor their credit and accounts, including their Uber account, for any issues. Please let Uber know via the Help Center if you see anything unexpected or unusual related to your Uber account. You can do this by tapping “Help” in your app, then “Account and Payment Options” > “I have an unknown charge” > “I think my account has been hacked”.



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New Education Programme To Build On Success Of Tim Peake Mission

Thousands of children across the UK are set to benefit from a new space education partnership between the UK Space Agency and UK ASDC – Destination Space 2.

Following on from the huge success of Association for Science and Discovery Centre’s (ASDC) Destination Space, which engaged over 730,000 children and adults with Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station, the UK Space Agency is supporting ASDC to create new space resources and to work with five UK science centres and museums to deliver space activities in 2018.

Destination Space is a national STEM programme created and run by ASDC and funded by the UK Space Agency. The first phase of this national programme ran from 2014 to 2017 and engaged, inspired and involved families with school-age children, school groups and teachers, and communities across the UK with the amazing stories, science and achievements of human spaceflight and Tim Peake’s Principia mission. Overall 733,017 children and adults took part in this ASDC programme in the first 15 months of delivery and many more continue to do so today.

This new six month programme builds on all this training, knowledge and enthusiasm for space science and exploration currently in science centres across the UK, and ensures delivery of this content continues well into the future. Specifically, this programme will focus on celebrating the science and engineering of the new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the new Mars rover for the ExoMars mission, and will introduce satellite applications and the plans to enable space launches from the UK. It also will develop content more widely that can be used by multiple partners and ASDC in future projects around space science.

The programme will invite applications in January from the twenty Science and Discovery Centres and Museums around the UK that delivered Destination Space 1 – from Eden in Cornwall to the Scottish Science Centres, and from W5 in Belfast to the Science Museum in London. Five centres will be selected, and they will be trained in March to run this cutting-edge schools and families programme across 2018 and into the future.

This programme will be directed and managed by the UK Association for Science and Discovery Centres who have considerable experience managing national strategic multi-partner science engagement programmes. The activities and events will be delivered in collaboration with science centres with expertise in engaging the public with space science, along with specialist expertise from researchers and UK Space Agency partners. This exciting new programme runs from 16 October 2017 until 31 March 2018.

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Apple Delays Its HomePod Smart Speaker Until Next Year

Apple said on Friday that it’s delaying the launch of its HomePod smart speaker until next year.

The delay means Apple will miss the key Christmas shopping season in the fast-growing segment of connected speakers.

“We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers,” Apple said in an emailed statement.

“We’ll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.”

Apple announced the device at its developer conference in June.





Space Emergency Service Gains International Award

A global operation to provide satellite information when disasters strike, which the UK led on earlier this year, has received a major international award.

The International Charter on Space and Major Disasters received the 2017 William T. Pecora Award for providing satellite earth observations to help save lives worldwide.

The award, sponsored by the US Geological Survey and NASA, was presented yesterday (15 November) in South Dakota, United States.

The Charter is made up of 16 agencies, including the UK Space Agency, which led on the agreement between April and October this year, with Airbus responsible for coordination.

It provides images and other satellite information free of charge to emergency response agencies around the world, whenever major disasters strike.

Since the Charter was founded in 2000, response efforts include the tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand in 2004, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and the earthquake in Nepal in 2015.

The project launched into action more recently, in September this year, as Hurricane Irma advanced across the Caribbean.

Speaking in the latest edition of Space UK, Remote Sensing Analyst Amalia Castro, who works at the Airbus offices in Guildford, explained:

“I was on call 24/7 for the whole week. I need to think which satellites will be best, what’s their resolution and prepare to task those satellites.”

“We had the potential for storms, floods, flash floods and landslides. I asked for data from 15 different satellites, from several different companies and agencies.”

Chris Lee, who leads the UK’s membership of the Charter for the UK Space Agency, added:

“I think that’s the great thing about the Charter. It’s the collection of all the available satellites from all around the world.”

The award comes as the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology highlights the use of satellite data for disaster risk reduction in its latest POST note: Environmental Earth Observation

You can find out more about the UK’s role in the Charter’s response to Hurricane Irma by reading the latest issue of Space UK.

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Data Economy Announces Four More Forums For 2018

During Data Economy’s inaugural forum The Edge of Tomorrow founding editor Joao Lima announced the publication’s plans to host four more forums covering the trends and disrupters set to shape the digital economy.

“It was clear from last night that the market is hungry for a very content focused forum which provides those attending with new insights of extremely relevant topics and issues set to transform the business of data centres, cloud and telecommunications,” said João Marques Lima, founding editor of Data Economy.

“We are extremely excited with our new events portfolio and the agenda for these four new forums will be announced in due time. At Data Economy we are not static. We evolve and adapt to both the market we cover and the feedback we received from our readers. We will continue to push the limits of what it is possible in this industry.”

The first forum took place in The Ham Yard Hotel in central London attracting leading authorities on edge computing with speakers from IBM, Accenture, Fujitsu, SSE Enterprise Telecoms, Vertiv and many more.

“The true scope and scale of edge computing was laid out for everyone to see. This is not just about speed anymore. This will fundamentally change the entire structure of the data economy,” remarked Matheu Spence, Head of Business Development at Data Economy.

“As João referenced in his opening remarks, we fast moving away from the zettabyte age and quickly moving into the exciting yottabyte era. The future is in the data economy.”

The Edge of Tomorrow was proudly supported by Patron sponsor EdgeConneX – whose chief innovation Officer Phill Lawson-Shanks delivered the evening’s opening keynote foregrounding the incontrovertible need for data centres at the edge.

Schneider Eclectic, Datacenter People & Aruba IT also partnered with the event helping to bring attention to ground-breaking capability of the edge computing.

Data Economy’s is targeting a worldwide elite of senior IT and operations professionals responsible for making critical infrastructure and business decisions that impact not only their business but the thousands of enterprises across the globe and the more than three billion internet users.

Visit the website at www.data-economy.com. You may also follow Data Economy on Twitter @dataeconomy, on Facebook @dataeconomytoday, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+.




Minister for Digital – Speech At The Times and The Sunday Times Tech Summit 2017

Thank you for inviting me to this Tech Summit.

The word summit of course has two popular meanings. There’s a gathering such as this, and then there’s the peak – the zenith, the apex, the apogee – the highest point that can be reached.

When it comes to tech, and to digital technology, we are very far from the summit of what can be achieved. Indeed, we are only beginning to even glimpse the potential of where digital technologies might take us, and how much they will transform our world.

These are very much the foothills, and now we must be ready for the climb. Policy making is always as much about anticipating and preparing for the future as it is with addressing current issues.

Our Digital Strategy, published in March of this year, set out how we intend to make the UK the best place to establish and grow a digital business and the safest place for citizens to be online. That means today, but also in the future, so we are ready for the changes ahead.

It established seven pillars that underpin the changes we need to see and I’d like to update you now on the impressive progress that, just eight months in, we have already made.

The first pillar, and central to everything, is infrastructure. In the Digital Strategy we committed to building a world-class digital infrastructure for the UK. That means ubiquitous coverage, so no one is left out, and with sufficient capacity not only for today’s needs but in readiness for tomorrow.

We are on track to meet the target, set out in the Strategy, of superfast broadband coverage at 95% by the end of 2017. Then to reach the final 5%, we legislated in the Digital Economy Act, which received Royal Assent this year, for a Universal Service Obligation to deliver decent broadband to all. In the modern economy, broadband is essentially a utility, and I’m pleased it is increasingly delivered by a competitive market of providers.

For mobile reception, each MNO is obliged to provide voice coverage to 90% of the UK by the end of this year. Meanwhile, 4G premises coverage rose from 29% in 2015 to 72% last year and in our Manifesto we set a target of 95% coverage of the UK landmass. People must be able to stay connected wherever they live, work, and travel.

But at the same time as fixing the current technology, we must also look ahead the next generation, and that means 5G and full fibre.

Our 5G strategy, released at Spring Budget 2017, outlined the necessary steps. As part of a £1.1 billion investment in digital infrastructure, we are funding a coordinated programme of integrated fibre and 5G trials to ensure the UK leads the world in 5G connectivity.

Today, we’re launching a pilot scheme in Aberdeenshire, Bristol/Bath and North East Somerset, Coventry, Warwickshire, and West Yorkshire, which will see local companies offered vouchers by broadband suppliers to pay for gold-standard full-fibre gigabit connections. This should help revolutionise our digital infrastructure, and make it fit for the future, so we trust that take-up will be high.

The second pillar of the digital strategy is skills. At every level, from getting people online for the first time, to attracting and training the world’s top coding talent, Britain needs stronger digital skills if we are to thrive in the years ahead.

Government can’t address this shortfall alone. So when we launched the Digital Strategy in March, we committed to establish a new Digital Skills Partnership, between Government, businesses, charities and voluntary organisations. The aim was to bring greater coherence to the provision of digital skills training at a national level.

And at the launch we promised to create more than four million digital training places. Just eight months in, we and our partners – including Barclays, Lloyds, Google, and many others – have impressively over-delivered, with more than two million places made available, in everything from basic online skills through to cybersecurity and coding. These skills will be crucial to our country’s future prosperity, so we intend to keep up the pace.

The third pillar is to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business.

Make no mistake, Britain is already a global tech powerhouse, with more than 1.4 million people working in digital tech and new jobs being created at twice the rate of other sectors. In the first half 2017 there was a record £5.6 billion invested in tech in the UK – including from Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, IBM, and Google – and the sector has an annual turnover of £118 billion.

All impressive figures, but we can still push further.




So today we are unveiling a £21 million investment to create a new national network of regional tech hubs, across the country, from Belfast to Edinburgh, Cardiff to Birmingham. The funding will also help entrepreneurs in emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and FinTech, by connecting them to peers and potential investors in other hubs across the country, as well as by offering tailored development programmes.

And, as the Chancellor has announced, Tech City UK and Tech North are to become a single national organisation, Tech Nation, to speed up the growth and reach of the UK’s innovative digital clusters. Companies that have already benefitted from Tech City UK’s input include Just Eat, Funding Circle and Zoopla, and they haven’t done too shabbily. So this is very welcome news.

The fourth pillar of the Digital Strategy is that every UK business should be, to some extent, a digital business.

In July we launched the Productivity Council, which was developed through discussions with UK business leaders, the Confederation of British Industry and the Institute of Directors, and designed to encourage and support UK businesses to go digital. Analysis suggests that only a modest improvement across a broad base of firms could unlock billions of Gross Value Added every year.

The fifth pillar is to make the UK the safest place in the world to live and work online.

Our Internet Safety Strategy, published last month, is a substantial step towards that goal. The Strategy sets out how we all must play our role in tackling online harms. We want to bring together groups from across our whole society and hear from people of all backgrounds – including technology firms, schools, the voluntary sector, and citizens young and old as we turn ambition into reality.

We will bring in a statutory code of practice for social media companies, and are consulting on an industry levy to support educational programmes and technical solutions. We also want to see more transparency, to help inform future policy.

Ensuring the internet is safe means cyber security too, and our National Cyber Security Strategy, funded to the tune of £1.9bn, sets out what we are doing to help improve Britain’s cyber security.

One of the programme’s many aims is to find, finesse and fast-track tomorrow’s online security experts. Over 6000 young people – between 14 and 18 years old – are now being invited to test their skills in online cyber and problem solving challenges, via a £20 million training programme. They might then win a place on the Cyber Discovery scheme, where they can learn cutting-edge skills from cyber security experts.

But keeping citizens safe online means more than protecting against cyber crime. It means ensuring that norms of behaviour online match those we have always valued offline.

The Digital Strategy is now complemented by the Digital Charter, as introduced in the Manifesto. The Charter will reinforce the work we started with the Strategy but will further consider how we apply the liberal values we value offline to the online world, so we can seize the opportunities that unprecedented connectivity provides, while also mitigating the harms it creates.

Throughout we will be guided by three core principles. First, what is considered unacceptable offline should not be accepted online. Secondly, all users should be empowered to manage their own online risks. Lastly, technology companies have a responsibility to their users to develop and protect safe online communities.

And we are committed to bringing about a sustainable business model for high quality journalism. I welcome Google’s movement towards this, not least removing the one click free policy, but there is much more to do to ensure we find a genuinely sustainable business model for high quality journalism, as we have, for example, for the music industry that’s been through a similar radical disruption but found a way to a model that seems to be working.

The sixth pillar of the Strategy is to digitise Government.

Since the creation of Government Digital Services in 2011, Britain has been a world leader in such work.

From applying for a passport, to applying for lasting power of attorney, dozens of Government services have been digitised. The massive project to make tax digital is proceeding carefully, and the feedback from those who use the new digitised service is encouraging. Our G-cloud procurement system is being copied around the world, as it allows and encourages contracts to go to small innovative companies, not the traditional main players. In February this year, we had 3,947 suppliers on the Digital Marketplace, of which 93% were SMEs. And as a result out GovTech market is booming.

And so we arrive at the final pillar: data.

The Digital Strategy has also committed to unlocking the power of data in the UK economy and improving public confidence in its use. Research shows that, currently, more than 80 per cent of people feel that they do not have complete control over their data online, and that is too high.

So we are strengthening our data protection laws through the new Data Protection Bill, making UK law consistent with the EU’s GDPR. Under its proposals individuals will have more control over their data, through the right to be forgotten and to ask for their personal data to be erased. They will also be able to ask social media channels to delete information they posted in their childhood.

We want to end the existing reliance on default opt-out or pre-selected ‘tick boxes’, to give consent for organisations to collect personal data. We all know these are largely ignored. The Data Protection Bill will make it simpler to withdraw consent for the use of personal data and require explicit consent to be necessary for processing sensitive personal data. It also expands the definition of ‘personal data’ to include IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA.

New criminal offences will be created to deter organisations from creating situations – be it through pure recklessness or deliberate intent – where someone could be identified from anonymised data. The data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office, will be given more power to defend consumer interests and issue higher fines for the most serious data breaches.

So there you have it. We may be in the foothills of this digital age but we are well equipped for the climb, and remain alert to any obstacles ahead. Much remains to do but I am confident the measures I’ve just outlined will continue to ensure our good progress.



The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP

£21m To Boost UK’s World-class Tech Sector

The UK’s world-leading tech sector will go from strength-to-strength after plans unveiled today set out a £21m investment to create a new national network of regional tech hubs in areas across the country, including Cardiff.

Today (15 Nov) the Government announced that Tech City UK and Tech North are to become a national organisation, Tech Nation, to speed up the growth of the UK’s pioneering and innovative digital companies and clusters, helping spread the benefits even further.

Successful companies which have benefitted from Tech City UK’s work include Just Eat, Zoopla and Funding Circle.

Building on the organisation’s work helping to turn London’s Silicon Roundabout into a globally recognised tech hub, the funding will see the new Tech Nation work alongside existing tech partners and business organisations to accelerate the expansion already underway by rolling out its tech-hub model.

As part of the plans, Tech City UK will give more than 40,000 people the opportunity to develop the skills needed to start or grow a digital business and will offer support for up to 4,000 UK tech businesses through targeted growth programmes.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said:

This is fantastic news for South Wales’ already thriving tech sector.

The digital sector has become an integral part of the Welsh economy and the rapid growth of many digital businesses across the country has confirmed our position as a hub of technological excellence.

Today’s announcement seals South Wales’ place as a regional centre of technology excellence, and the UK Government is committed to ensuring the continued growth of this sector across the country.

Minister for Digital, Matt Hancock, said:

This new funding is an important part of our plans to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business, with the benefits spread right across the country.

This regional network will accelerate the growth of the digital tech sector, cement the pipeline of talent and spark the next generation of innovative firms to seize the future opportunities of digitisation – bringing jobs, skills and higher productivity to our regions.

Eleven regional hubs will form the backbone of a national network of digital excellence to reflect the country’s standing as a global powerhouse for tech industries and help the Government achieve aims outlined in the Industrial and Digital Strategies.

The funding will also help entrepreneurs in emerging tech sectors, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Fintech, by connecting them to peers and potential investors in other hubs across the country and by offering tailored development programmes.



Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK (soon to be Tech Nation), said:

We are thrilled the Government is backing our model which has played an important role in helping the country’s tech firms accelerate their growth.

Tech Nation will help transform the UK from a series of standalone tech clusters into a powerful national network that will reinforce the UK’s position at the top of global tech rankings.

This will ensure we continue to be at the forefront of digital innovation, developing tech talent and attracting international investment.

Eileen Burbidge, Chair of Tech City UK (soon to be Tech Nation), said:

We are delighted to hear that the Government wants to increase Tech City UK’s funding for the next four years.

Under the Tech Nation banner, this country that has brought so much innovation to the world and leads in sub-sectors such as fintech, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotics and life sciences will build a national network of digital excellence so that the UK will continue to be recognised as one of the best places in the world to start or grow a digital tech business.

Britain is already a global tech powerhouse and the Government is determined to see that continue. More than 1.4 million people work in the UK’s digital tech sector and jobs are being created at twice the rate of other sectors in the economy.

Average advertised salaries are £50,000, 30 per cent higher than the national average. The sector has a turnover of more than £118 billion and figures on foreign investment published in July found in the first half of 2017 there was a record £5.6 billion investment in tech in the UK.

In the face of international competition for this high-value employment industry, Tech Nation will help the UK accelerate the growth of the tech sector.

Successful Tech North programmes such as Founders Network and Northern Stars will be extended nationally, and existing national programmes such as Future Fifty and Upscale will be strengthened.

David Buttress, Partner at 83North and former CEO and co-founder of Just Eat, a Future Fifty alumni company, said:

Tech City UK and the Future Fifty programme have given fast-growing companies like ours a great opportunity to learn from our peers and exchange ideas.

They have also enabled us to get our voice heard in government, so that we can give our point of view on the way our working world is changing. That will continue to be extremely important for all emerging tech sectors.

Samir Desai, Funding Circle, a Future Fifty alumni company, said:

Tech City UK has been an excellent advocate for the tech sector, understanding the needs of start-ups and scaling businesses and representing this coherently to Government. The programme they deliver is comprehensive and has supported us across a range of issues and business priorities.

The first set of hubs to form Tech Nation will be located in:

  • Wales – Cardiff
  • Midlands – Birmingham
  • Scotland – Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • Northern Ireland – Belfast
  • Greater London – London





Overview of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

This overview highlights the key themes of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to help organisations understand the new legal framework in the EU. It explains the similarities with the existing UK Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), and describes some of the new and different requirements. It is for those who have day-to-day responsibility for data protection.

This is a living document and we are working to expand it in key areas. It includes links to relevant sections of the GDPR itself, to other ICO guidance and to guidance produced by the EU’s Article 29 Working Party. The Working Party includes representatives of the data protection authorities from each EU member state, and the ICO is the UK’s representative.

The GDPR will apply in the UK from 25 May 2018. The government has confirmed that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect the commencement of the GDPR.

The ICO is committed to assisting businesses and public bodies to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond. We acknowledge that there may still be questions about how the GDPR would apply in the UK on leaving the EU, but this should not distract from the important task of compliance with the GDPR.

With so many businesses and services operating across borders, international consistency around data protection laws and rights is crucial both to businesses and organisations, and to individuals. The ICO’s role has always involved working closely with regulators in other countries, and that will continue to be the case. Having clear laws with safeguards in place is more important than ever given the growing digital economy, and we will work with government to stay at the centre of these conversations about the long term future of UK data protection law and to provide our advice and counsel where appropriate.

Further information :-

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/overview-of-the-gdpr/




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UK Space Agency Is Touring The Country With Industry Workshops

The UK Space Agency is touring the country with industry workshops and public open evenings on LaunchUK – the campaign to enable small satellite rocket launches and sub-orbital flights from UK spaceports.

The Government wants to make the UK a world-leading destination for companies offering launch services. New legislation to regulate launch is currently before Parliament and in early 2018 the UK Space Agency will announce the outcome of its call for grant proposals to achieve low cost access to space. In total 26 proposals were submitted to the call, and the UK Space Agency is currently considering grant applications to support the first launches from UK soil.

These initial missions from the UK will pave the way for a commercial launch market, where multiple small satellite launch vehicles and sub-orbital spaceplanes could pursue rising global demand from a number of UK spaceports.

Launch companies that choose to base themselves in the UK will benefit from access to the UK’s world class space and aerospace manufacturers on their doorstep. The LaunchUK roadshows aim to raise awareness of this opportunity and the wider benefits of having launch capability in the UK – to companies in the supply chain, for example.

Science Minister Jo Johnson, speaking at the first Launch UK event in Belfast on 9 November, said:

“This is genuinely one of the most exciting industrial opportunities the country has.

“We need to get behind it as government and we are. We’re pulling together a really exciting programme for industry that we want you to be aware of to take full advantage of it.

“One of the things we’re doing is to put in place a new regulatory framework that will make it possible for us to compete in new segments of the space value chain.

“We see this as an opportunity that is going to be good for businesses in this sector throughout the UK, in every part of the country.”

LaunchUK will spread new opportunity throughout the space and aerospace sectors. The UK Space Agency and its partners want to explore how the market could develop, what opportunities it offers for new supply chains, and how the benefits can be delivered across the UK.

The following roadshows are coming up:

  • Nottingham, 15 November 2017
  • Harwell, 24 November 2017
  • Durham, 29 November 2017
  • Cardiff, 5 December 2017
  • Glasgow, 15 December 2017

There will also be a chance for the public to find out more about plans for small satellite launch and sub-orbital flight from UK spaceports, with each roadshow having an open evening with experts from the UK Space Agency and Civil Aviation Authority on hand to answer questions.

Visit our [LaunchUK Roadshow event page] for more information.](https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/launchuk-roadshow)

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Thales Alenia Space Signs Contract With UK Space Agency To Work On Climate Change Mission

A UK company has been selected to undertake the Assembly Integration and Test (AIT) for a satellite which will help tackle climate change, Science Minister Jo Johnson announced today.

Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with the UK Space Agency to work on MicroCarb, a joint UK-French satellite mission which will measure sources and sinks of carbon, the principal greenhouse gas driving global warming. It is the first European mission intended to characterise greenhouse gas fluxes on Earth’s surface and gauge how much carbon is being absorbed by oceans and forests, the main sinks on the planet.

The mission, scheduled to launch in 2020, will also contribute to international efforts to measure how much carbon gas is being emitted by natural processes and human activities. MicroCarb will enable the UK Space Agency and CNES to pave the way for a longer term operational system in response to the Paris COP21 Agreement.

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Ben Olivier, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in the UK and Jo Johnson, Science Minister.





Thales Alenia Space engineers will work closely with the CNES project team and then take full responsibility to manage and deliver the satellite AIT programme at the UK’s National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF) in Harwell. This world class facility, due to open in 2020, has been awarded £99 million in funding by the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to boost the UK’s space capabilities for the design and build of more complex space instruments and technologically advanced satellites.

Science Minister, Jo Johnson, speaking on a visit to Thales Alenia Space’s Belfast facility, said:

“The UK space sector is brimming with talent and our collaboration with France on MicroCarb is an excellent platform to demonstrate our cutting-edge science and engineering, which is at the core of our Industrial Strategy.

“It is great to see our £99m investment in the new National Satellite Test Facility is already making a difference for the sector. This facility will make Harwell a world-class hub for innovative space technology, helping UK companies like Thales Alenia Space be more competitive in the global market and support our ambition to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030.”

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Ben Olivier and Jo Johnson in Thales clean room.

The contract reflects Thales Alenia Space’s strategy of growing its European footprint and is fully in line with market trends and growth dynamics.

Ben Olivier, CEO of Thales Alenia Space in the UK, said:

“MicroCarb will be a significant demonstration of what space technology and science from satellites can contribute to the understanding of the carbon cycle; ultimately helping decision makers to develop the best policies to make the World a better place. We are proud to be a part of this effort.”

For Thales Alenia Space in the UK, this is a significant milestone in the recognition of the company’s developing capability as a Prime contractor in the UK for major space missions.

The Assembly Integration and Test of the MicroCarb satellite is Thales Alenia Space in the UK’s first opportunity to work with CNES to deliver on an important Earth Observation Mission. It also demonstrates the confidence and trust placed in Thales Alenia Space in the UK and its teams of highly skilled engineers.



Story and images via GOV.UK