The UK government is to kick-start an innovative project to fly radar satellites around the Earth, with an initial investment of £21m.
Radar spacecraft can see the planet's surface in all weathers, day and night.
It is hoped that a series of satellites could eventually be launched, enabling any place on Earth to be imaged inside 24 hours - a powerful capability.
The radar money is part of a £200m boost for science announced by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement.
George Osborne's investment will be matched by industry.