Future of space tech: supply chains, SMEs and SDGs

About the event

How start-ups and small companies are helping to find sustainability solutions in space.

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From using space data to track agricultural supply chains from ‘field to fork’ to reducing emissions through more efficient, GPS-enabled journeys, space technology is increasingly a part of the solution to a range of challenges across the world. As Anu Ojha, Director of the UK National Space Academy, puts it, ‘Space capabilities are no longer nice to have: they're a must-have if you are to address the fundamental challenges that you face if you are running a region, you are running a city, you are running a country where you think about the environment, where you're thinking about health, where you think about population issues.’

In this Smart Space event from 29 April 2022, Ojha joins host Arnab Dutt OBE, SME Panel Member in the UK Cabinet Office, Vanessa Clark, CEO and Co-Founder of Atomos Space, and Sam Adlen, Chief Strategy Officer at the Satellite Applications Catapult, in a wide-ranging discussion looking at the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in innovating and engaging with the new space sector to deliver the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

They tease out small nudges and big policies that have the potential to make the sector more innovative, more sustainable, and more impactful, including:

  • Reframing tender invitations so that they seek ways to solve problems or fill capability gaps, rather than specify the solutions.
  • Improving governance internationally, particularly to address issues such as space debris
  • Moving rapidly from sustainability reporting to enforcement, but through incentivising good behaviour rather than penalising bad