Scottish Space Company Craft Prospect Secures Investment and Follow-up Funding for Quantum Communications Mission


At this week’s Ignite Space event in Edinburgh, Craft Prospect announced two successes in securing funds for business growth.

The company received a grant of £ 870,000 under the UK Space Agency’s National Space Innovation Program for its ROKS mission, coupled with an initial investment of £ 300,000 from the University of Strathclyde, a university in leading edge in quantum technologies.

The funding supports the company’s Smart Secure Space vision to deliver quantum and embedded AI products and services for next generation space systems. It follows a successful investment of over £ 1million from Capital for Colleagues, a fund that advises and invests in employee-owned businesses and Scottish Enterprise earlier in the year.

The Reactive Operations for Key Services (ROKS) exploration mission will demonstrate technologies for future secure telecommunications systems using quantum communications and supported by artificial intelligence. The goal of the current phase will be to produce a payload ready for launch and demonstration in 2022/23. In addition to the University of Strathclyde, the company will lead a consortium comprising the University of Bristol and Fraunhofer UK.

The ROKS mission will demonstrate technologies and services for secure “quantum security” communications. With the emergence of quantum computing comes the threat to communication and encryption systems, with these next-generation computers capable of breaking down commonly used methods. The ROKS mission advances the UK’s capabilities to respond to these threats using small and responsive CubeSat approaches capable of facilitating and maintaining the integrity of our global communications networks.

Over the past 12 months, the company has created more than 10 highly skilled space, quantum intelligence and artificial intelligence jobs based at the former Fairfield shipyards in Govan, Glasgow, as well as in the creation of optical development and AI facilities and cleanroom testing.

Managing Director Steve Greenland said of the news: “Obtaining such significant follow-up funding from the UK Space Agency shows the quality of the cutting-edge work already provided by the team and the return of our investment in developing our capabilities and facilities over the past five years. With strong research links existing with the University of Strathclyde, we can see a pipeline of opportunities to collaborate in the industrialization and deployment of these emerging technologies in space, and now have the financial backing to provide d other demonstrations of great value.

Dr Poonam Malik, Head of Investments at the University of Strathclyde, said: “We are proud to invest in a Strathclyde Alumni startup in the space sector through our Strathclyde Inspire investment fund.

“Strathclyde has a strong tradition of investing in innovative companies, and quantum technologies and space are key priority research areas at the University.

“We look forward to supporting Craft Prospect in its future growth, alongside Capital for Colleagues and Scottish Enterprise and our university academic teams collaborating with Craft on other research and innovation projects. ”

Alistair Currie, CEO of Capital for Colleagues, the lead investor in this funding round, said: “We are delighted to have helped Craft Prospect become employee-owned and believe our investment will help the company become a leader in the Scottish space sector. We would like to congratulate Craft Prospect for securing this additional funding and look forward to working with Scottish Enterprise and the University of Strathclyde in the future in this sector ”.

Colin Baldwin, Head of Local Growth at the UK Space Agency, which hosted the Ignite Space event, said: “Scottish space companies like Craft Prospect play a vital role in the UK’s thriving space industry. This project will improve our ability to respond to threats to important communications and encryption systems, and it’s a great example of how innovative space technologies can be used to help solve challenges here on Earth.

The Scottish Space Sector comprises 133 organizations of which 83 are headquartered in Scotland and employ just over 8,000 people. The Ignite Space event, at the Edinburgh International Conference Center, was organized by the UK Space Agency to support the growth of space companies across the UK. About 300 delegates attended the event, including exhibition stand holders and speakers including UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart.

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