The strength of the UK Space Industry, which is worth an estimated £7.5 B, has been doubly enhanced with the publication by the UK’s Space Leadership Council of the National Space Technology Strategy for the UK and the opening by the International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC).
The National Space Technology Strategy for the UK details priority research and technology areas to help the UK space sector grow, including telecommunications and access to space. This will support the National Space Technology Programme announced in the Growth Review and help UK businesses make the most of foreign markets. It is the result of a six-month process, working with all areas of the space sector and taking a range of views and expertise onboard. A series of “roadmaps” have been produced, giving the industry clear, actionable guidance needed to drive innovation and increase market share in areas such as telecommunications, sensing, exploration and access to space.
David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science and Space Leadership Council Co-chair, said, “The UK’s space sector is a key driver of economic growth and is increasing rapidly each year.” He added, “Today’s strategy is an excellent example of the value of working closely with industry, and I am confident it will provide our space sector with the advice and guidance it needs to truly flourish.”
The International Space Innovation Centre is located at Harwell alongside the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the European Space Agency’s UK office. It is a not-for-profit company with partners from industry and the public sector. ISIC industrial partners include Astrium Satellites, SSTL, Logica and VEGA Space. Public sector partners include STFC, NERC, TSB and the UK Space Agency, as well as the University of Surrey.
Dr. Barbara Ghinelli, Executive Chair of ISIC, stated, “We are very excited about ISIC; we believe it is the catalyst that will bring UK space activities and capabilities together and position us to win a larger share of a growing global market. ISIC integrates four cutting-edge facilities – an Earth Observation Hub, a Security and Resilience Unit, a Visualisation and Application Centre, and a Concurrent Design Facility as well as linking to the wider Harwell Space Cluster which includes the ESA Centre, the ESA-STFC Business Incubator Centre and a growing number of commercial companies.”