Scottish radio firm is making waves in space after £6.2m funding boost

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A SCOTTISH firm has been handed £6.2m to take its radio technology into space.

Sofant Technologies will use €7.3m from the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and European Space Agency (ESA) to support the commercialisation of its satellite communications platform.

The Edinburgh-based firm says its technology solves the most pressing power consumption and heat problems faced by the latest 5G and satellite communications systems.

The device is called RF MEMS, which stands for radio frequency microelectromechanical systems.

The RF MEMS chip that will be fitted in the antenna

The funding from the ESA will support Sofant’s commercialisation of a satellite communication terminal, allowing users to connect to the cloud via a new generation of low-latency, super-fast satellite networks. 

Eliminating the need for complex and expensive cooling systems, Sofant’s platform allows networks to operate with 70% less power.

By connecting devices wirelessly via a satellite network, the need for terrestrial infrastructure will be reduced and people in remote locations will get online more easily. 

CEO David Wither said: “We are honoured that the UKSA and the ESA have agreed to support the commercialisation of Sofant’s technology.

“They have a clear understanding of the technical challenges faced by the satellite communications industry as it seeks to exploit the promise of a new generation of satellite networks.

“They also share our belief that a scalable technology platform which solves power consumption and heat problems in phased array antennas is critical for the future wireless communications.”

Sofant plans to triple its headcount from 16 to 48 over the contract period.

This will create numerous highly-skilled jobs within Scotland’s engineering sector, from antenna and product design to component, product and software engineering.