press release
Published: 08 August 2023

Space project to tackle air pollution and weather forecasting

The UK’s largest regional space cluster, Space South Central, has won funding from the UK Space Agency for an international project to develop a new Earth observation mission to help Singapore manage climate change.

The project, which is led by the University of Surrey, will focus on monitoring air pollution and atmospheric weather forecasting. The project aims to better measure climate change and inform disaster response in Singapore, although the findings will also benefit wider regions. Space South Central will work with counterparts in Singapore to develop critical instrumentation which can obtain data vital to understanding the challenges and impact presented by climate change. 

Global climate change is a national priority for Singapore, which is often impacted by high levels of air pollution, particularly when wildfires in neighbouring countries cause haze. The growing population and economy are increasing water demand and putting pressure on the water supply, which is vulnerable to climate change.  

The University of Surrey’s Dr William Lovegrove, who leads on international liaison for Space South Central, said:  

“We are thrilled to have been awarded this project by the UK Space Agency and are excited at the prospect of further deeper collaboration with our partners in Singapore. This project, developing critical instrumentation for climate change monitoring, encompasses so much of the newly-announced National Space Strategy by unlocking growth through international collaboration.  

“We would like to express our gratitude to our Singaporean project partners for their commitment to this endeavour. By combining our expertise and resources, we anticipate creating a new scientific satellite mission that not only addresses global challenges but also fosters stronger ties between our nations in the context of this significant trade agreement.” 

 The project will incorporate innovative electronic propulsion technology, state-of-the-art onboard AI processing technology, next-generation sensors enabled by quantum technology, and miniaturised timing mechanisms. These will form a very low-earth-orbit constellation to contribute to the sustainable use of space and address critical environmental issues like air pollution and weather forecasting. 

The project also involves Singapore’s Office for Space Technology & Industry (OSTIn), Singapore’s Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*Star), National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University. In the UK, it also involves the two other Space South Central cluster Universities of Southampton and Portsmouth and Twinparadox Ltd. 

Dr Chris Bridges, Principal Investigator for the project from Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey, said: 

“The cluster team has been working closely with experts in Singapore to understand what’s needed to help the island country cope with climate change. The cutting-edge and disruptive technologies emerging from the Universities of Surrey, Portsmouth and Southampton are combining to solve problems.”  


Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: 

“Working with other space agencies and organisations across the globe through our International Bilateral Fund allows us to draw on skills that enhance our homegrown expertise and capabilities, drive up investment in the UK, and support world-class science and discovery. Projects such as the University of Surrey’s work with Singapore to advance sustainability and scientific sensors highlight the many ways in which we can collaborate with the global space community to help humanity push the boundaries of space innovation and unlock commercial opportunities that will benefit our economy now and in the future.” 


The project is worth nearly £75,000 and secured funding from the UK Space Agency’s International Bilateral Fund.



Notes to editors   

  • Dr William Lovegrove and Dr Chris Bridges are available for comment  

  • For more information, please contact  


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