Government commits £100 million-plus for space science
13 Jul 2017
Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson has announced government funding of £99 million for a National Satellite Testing Facility on the Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire in a bid to boost the UK’s role in space science.
An additional £4 million will be granted for a National Space Propulsion Facility to develop and test space engines at Westcott Venture Park in Buckinghamshire.
Visiting the Science and Technology Facilities Council RAL Space site, which will house the satellite facility, the minister said that the funding boost will enable UK industry to bid for more national and international contracts.
He stated: “The UK space sector underpins industries worth more than £250 billion to the economy, and through our Industrial Strategy we will unlock the sector’s potential to grow further.
“Located in a cluster known for research excellence, these new facilities will help UK companies be more competitive in the global market for space technology and support our ambition to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030.”
The NSTF is due to open in early 2020, for the assembly, integration and testing of space payloads and a share of the estimated 3,500-10,000 satellites due to be launched by 2025.
These facilities will help UK companies be more competitive and support our ambition to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030
Jo Johnson, universities and science minister
It will also permit the construction of larger and more technologically advanced satellites and remove the need for UK companies to use test facilities located abroad.
Dr Chris Mutlow, director of STFC RAL Space, said: “I am very proud that STFC RAL Space is being trusted by government to build, manage, operate and run this exciting new satellite test facility in support of the UK space community, assisting them to compete more successfully in the growing space industry sector and to help attract inward investment to the UK.
“The facility will be able to support everything from the smallest nanosats through to large communications satellites, and provide the UK with a competitive advantage to build on for the future.”