The C-LEO programme

Key Features

The UK Space Agency Connectivity in Low Earth Orbit (C-LEO) programme will provide up to £160 million of grant funding and contract awards over the next 4 years to UK companies and researchers to develop innovative satellite communications technology.

Programme:     UK Space Agency

Award:     Share of up to £60 million

Opens: 27th Mar 2024

Closes: 8th May 2024

! This scheme is now closed


The UK Space Agency Connectivity in Low Earth Orbit (C-LEO) programme will provide up to £160 million of grant funding and contract awards over the next 4 years to UK companies and researchers to develop innovative satellite communications technology.

This first C-LEO call will provide up to £60 million in funding support over the next 4 years.


The objective of the C-LEO programme is to future-proof the UK’s competitive edge in the high-value satellite communication sector by enabling its diversification into the high-growth and strategically important high-volume constellation market, including:

  • to accelerate the commercialisation and rapid industrialisation of key technologies and industry capabilities necessary for UK firms to meet demand for high-volume constellation production
  • to enable UK firms to secure a significant and sustained share of the high-value contracts due in the next 4 to 5 years that will drive the future sector supply chain
  • to develop the UK’s on-shore industrial capabilities in R&D-intensive activities of the constellation value chain
  • to catalyse private sector investment in UK high-volume constellation sector by signalling the UK’s commitment to the long-term growth of the satellite communication sector

Strategic Context

The National Space Strategy has set a vision to make the UK one of the world’s most innovative and attractive space economies. The UK Space Agency has an essential role in delivering this. They help the UK to harness the power of space to benefit our people, planet and shared prosperity, by:

  • catalysing investment – supporting projects that multiply the value of non-government contracts and capital secured by the UK space sector
  • delivering missions and capabilities that meet public needs and advance our understanding of the universe
  • championing space – advocating for the sustainable use of space, encouraging other sectors to use space solutions, and inspiring people into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers

To do this, they deliver an exciting portfolio of activities from helping companies to build space infrastructure and bring new services to market, to co-funding cutting edge research and reaching out to schools.

The C-LEO programme is strongly aligned with 3 of the 4 core pillars of the Strategy: unlocking growth in the UK space sector; growing the UK as a science and technology superpower; and developing resilient space capabilities and services.


This funding will be targeted towards proposals for innovative satellite communication technology in the following five technology areas:

  • on-board (regenerative) processing (OBP)
  • active antennas
  • optical inter-satellite links (OISL)
  • networking and routing
  • user terminals (UT)

This funding will be targeted towards proposals with technology readiness levels (TRL) of between 4 and 6, with the aim being to raise the proposal to TRL 7 and above. The funding of higher TRL proposals will be considered.

By the end of the funded project, there must be a tangible improvement in the TRL of the technology or a demonstration of advancement in approach (engineering method, technical competence etc).

For further guidance see here


Eligibility requirements to receive C-LEO funding are:

  • organisations must be UK-based
  • commercial companies must have a UK registration at Companies House
  • Successful applicants must have a UK bank account and all grant payments will be made in UK Sterling (as per the grant funding agreement). All ESA ARTES contract awards will be paid in Euros.

You may partner with non-UK companies, but these must either be self-funded or be funded by other ESA delegates. This requirement refers to project participants and does not represent a domestic input requirement for goods and services purchased to deliver your project.

Outline of the process

The C-LEO programme will provide up to £160 million over the next 4 years to UK entities through a series of annual calls. The programme will provide funding through 2 different routes:

  • in the form of grants awarded directly by UK Space Agency (‘the national grant route’)
  • in the form of contracts awarded by the European Space Agency (ESA), as part of the wider Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme (‘the ARTES contract route’)

For both routes, successful applicants will need to contribute match funding at the appropriate level based on the size of the applicant organisation. See further details here

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.