6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Business & Professional Life today CLICK HERE

Space cluster launch takes UK beyond the final frontier

PUBLISHED: 14:51 09 October 2018

Stuart Martin, CEO, Satellite Applications Catapult, Nigel MacKenzie, Project Manager, Westcott, Richard Harrington, Chief Executive, BTVLEP and Torben Henriksen, Head of Mechanical Department, ESA

Stuart Martin, CEO, Satellite Applications Catapult, Nigel MacKenzie, Project Manager, Westcott, Richard Harrington, Chief Executive, BTVLEP and Torben Henriksen, Head of Mechanical Department, ESA

Archant

The space age has entered a new focus with the launch of a multi-million-pound site dedicated to engineering, research and innovation

More than 250 delegates ranging from local business leaders to top global space scientists visited the Westcott Space Cluster to witness the official opening by Torben Henriksen, Head of the Mechanical Department at the European Space Agency.

They were able to see a static firing of Airborne Engineering’s rocket, the Lunar Hopper and enjoyed tours of two of Westcott’s newest facilities, the 5G Step-Out Centre and Business Incubation Centre, which are both run by the Satellite Applications Catapult.

The Space Cluster, based at Westcott Venture Park in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, is the result of a £30m investment at the site by government and industry and is particularly significant as it highlights how Westcott has come full circle in its importance as a research facility and developer of rocket propulsion.

Originally created as a base for training bomber crews, the Westcott site became a Government-backed Guided Projectile Establishment in 1946.

Major missile propulsion programmes were developed such as the Blue Streak and Black Knight which were the pre-cursor to the Ariane rockets, and the top-secret Chevaline but Westcott’s rockets have also been used for space exploration such as the Mars Global Surveyor mission to Mars in the 1990s.

The airfield has been largely unused for the last 30 years after investment in the UK space programme dried up but, under the management of PATRIZIA, rocket propulsion testing is back on the agenda along with wider research and development across the space sector.

Rod Mordey, Head of UK Asset Management at PATRIZIA, on behalf of the owners of the business park, Rockspring Hanover Property Unit Trust said: “Westcott Venture Park is currently going through a major transformation from historic testing site into UK centre of excellence for technology.

“Once the centre of the UK’s Cold War Rocket Research, Westcott is now home to a thriving nucleus of space companies and there is some really exciting work going on in rocketry here. Our pride in Westcott’s heritage has driven the desire to embrace the future. Rockspring Hanover’s investment in the creation of the Westcott Space Cluster, which is all happening at the heart of the site, underlines our commitment to the sustainable growth of the Park.

“Westcott is a place for businesses to secure their future within a community of technology innovators and in a location that offers unrivalled security and space to grow.”

Companies at Westcott continue to play a key role in providing rocket engines for interplanetary missions such as the JUNO Mission, Rosetta probe and fueling the Galileo Satellites.

The site is already home to NAMMO, European Astrotech, Airborne Engineering to name just a few, while the event celebrated the creation of five new facilities:

• Reaction Engines SABRE Test Facility which is being built to demonstrate and test the revolutionary SABRE engine core. The firm recently announced a £26.5m investment including backing from global aerospace companies Boeing HorizonX Ventures and Rolls Royce and has also received over £20m in investment from BAE Systems.

• Westcott Business Incubation Centre which offers specialised business and technical support for up to 20 early-stage companies dedicated to the areas of rocket propulsion, 5G communications and autonomous systems. It recently signed up its first three businesses, Valerann UK, SteamJet Space Systems and Stratian. The Centre is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, Rockspring Hanover Property Unit Trust, Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) and the Satellite Applications Catapult which also runs and manages the centre.

• Westcott 5G Step-Out Centre, a 5G facility to test and develop new services and products by accessing the latest wireless applications service equipment and satellite data without the need to invest in expensive infrastructure. The site will be key to unlocking the potential of 5G technology across markets ranging from healthcare to entertainment.

• UK Space Agency’s National Space Propulsion Test Facility (NSPTF) – a £4m government investment giving the UK a brand new facility for testing rocket thrusters up to 1.5kN. This site is scheduled to be completed by late 2019.

• Westcott Innovation Centre – providing networking and office facilities to foster innovation and growth. It is anticipated to be in place by 2019.

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult said: “The Satellite Applications Catapult is excited to be at the heart of the new Space Cluster at Westcott. We are committed to providing innovative ways to stimulate the growth of the UK space sector and the Westcott site is a unique opportunity to achieve that goal.

“The Catapult has two centres at Westcott, our new 5G Step-Out Centre and the Westcott Business Incubation Centre, which is for companies working in 5G, rocket propulsion and autonomous vehicles. Next year, we will open the Westcott Innovation Centre, which will enable companies that have been incubated on the site, to move into larger office space whilst still having access to the great range of business support that the Catapult can offer.

With all the support from our partners we are confident that Westcott will develop into a leading centre for space industry innovation over the next 5 years.”

Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “The launch of the Westcott Space Cluster is an exciting step for the growing space sector in Buckinghamshire and indeed the UK. This is a sector which underpins industries worth more than £250bn to the UK economy.

“Our £4m investment in a new National Space Propulsion Test Facility at Westcott will allow companies and academia to test and develop medium-sized space thrusters in an environment that replicates high altitude space. This new facility will help the UK be more competitive in the global market and support our ambition to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030.”

Richard Harrington, Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP), added: “Westcott is an important development area for BTVLEP, one which encompasses our Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone and we enthusiastically support the launch of the Westcott Space Cluster.

“We are proud to provide Local Growth Funds to help establish the Westcott 5G Step-out Centre and Innovation Centre at the site. This investment links closely with the aims of our Local Industrial Strategy to act as a catalyst for working our economic assets harder with a view to creating more opportunity, more collaboration between sectors and more productivity.”

Visit the Westcott Space Cluster website here.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Cotswold Life

Yesterday, 14:10

It’s the season of terrible puns, magic lamps, and generous genies: Aladdin, the all-new panto at the Everyman, has been written by none other than legendary Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan, and stars everyone’s favourite clown, Tweedy. The Barnard family from Nailsworth - mum, dad, Harriet (12) and Lewis (6) - made a Wishee (Washee) for tickets; grabbed their car (Window Twan) keys; and dashed off to see A Ladd In Cheltenham

Read more
Yesterday, 13:45

Crispy, frosty days and perhaps even a dusting of snow, winter is a magical time in the Cotswolds. If you’re thinking of tying the knot during this beautiful season in the region, here are six winter wedding ideas to help you start planning your special day

Read more

Christmas in the Wilson household is a heartwarming, traditional family affair

Read more
Yesterday, 13:15

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more
Yesterday, 13:09

Veganism is the latest food trend to hit the Cotswolds but it’s something we can all enjoy a bite of

Read more
Yesterday, 12:23

Get out and enjoy seasonal celebrations with a Cotswold twist

Read more
Yesterday, 12:21

The weekend is fast approaching and for those still deciding how to spend their Friday through to Sunday, we pick 5 of the best ways to spend your weekend in the Cotswolds

Read more
Yesterday, 12:01

This year sees the 40th anniversary of the publication of Raymond Briggs’ original picture book The Snowman. With three performances of the animated film – with live orchestra – coming to Gloucester Cathedral next month, we thought we’d catch up with Rachel Whibley, managing director of Carrot Productions (and occasional snowman), to find out more...

Read more
Yesterday, 09:13

Alleviate the stress of hectic Christmas preparation and endless shopping trips with a festive afternoon tea in one of these gorgeous Cotswold settings

Read more
Friday, December 7, 2018

Find a fabulous gift for everyone with Whatley Manor’s monetary vouchers.

Read more
Thursday, December 6, 2018

One lucky reader could win a pair of tickets to see Ella Mills, founder of Deliciously Ella, at Calcot Manor as well as two signed copies of ‘The Plant-Based Cookbook’

Read more
Thursday, December 6, 2018

People travel from far and wide to visit the Cotswolds at Christmas. We’ve compiled 24 reasons why you should join them.

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hundreds of participating National Lottery-funded visitor attractions across the UK are saying ‘thanks’ to people who have raised money for good causes by buying a lottery ticket, including a number of venues in the Cotswolds

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search