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Harwell space cluster turbocharges growth in UK's 'new space' sector

14 June 2018

Today five ‘New Space’ companies pioneering the latest space hardware, robotics and technology shared their latest growth and partnership milestones with investors, industry leaders and HRH The Duke of York at the Harwell Campus New Space Showcase.

Members of the world-renowned Harwell Space Cluster – Rezatec, Open Cosmos, Effective Space and Oxford Space Systems, alongside European leaders Thales Alenia Space – are part of an 80-strong group of private, public and academic organisations that includes STFC’s RAL Space facility and is focused on democratising the Space market and supporting the UK Space Sector as it aims for a 10% share of the global market by 2030.

The five announcements were made at the Harwell Space Cluster’s ‘New Space’ Showcase where His Royal Highness The Duke of York marked the event with the first deployment of Oxford Space Systems’ newest antenna targeted at earth observation satellite constellations.

Rezatec:
Rezatec and Eden Project partnership secures ESA funding to promote benefits of Earth Observation data for small-scale land owners.

Rezatec launches mobile app helping Mexican farmers improve sugar cane and wheat yield through the analysis of satellite data; supported through the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP).

Thales Alenia Space:
Introducing Skimsat, the new breakthrough concept for reducing the cost of Earth observing satellites without compromising performance by lowering the operational altitude. Skimsat is a small satellite set to become the new normal solution for Earth observing missions.

Open Cosmos:
Announcing a collaboration between Open Cosmos and the Satellite Applications Catapult to deliver IOD-6, a new mission opportunity on a 6U CubeSat platform. IOD-6 is part of the UK’s In-Orbit Demonstration Programme designed to lower the cost and time of access to space and enable companies to bring satellite-based products and services to market faster.  The new mission is supported by a £700,000 grant from the UK Space Agency.

Effective Space:
Pioneering last mile logistics in space. Effective Space is to collaborate with leading space startups and Harwell Space Cluster members to advance in-orbit servicing. Recently awarded a $100 million contract with a major regional satellite operator, its SPACE DRONE™ spacecraft can extend the life of ageing satellites by as much as 15 years.

Oxford Space Systems:
Oxford Space Systems secures £6.7m in funding; IQ Capital, Longwall Ventures, Midven and Wren Capital invest in the leading innovator of deployable space antennas and structures for the New Space age.

The five companies exemplify the Harwell Space Cluster and companies within it that are helping to drive a step-change to the traditional Space business model, where £hundreds of millions of investments have typically been needed to break into the market. The unique ecosystem at the Campus helps start-ups and scale-ups grow rapidly with support from organisations such as STFC’s RAL Space facility, the European Space Agency and its Business Incubation Centre, the Satellite Applications Catapult and the UK Space Agency.

Dr Chris Mutlow, Director of STFC RAL Space, said: “Over the last decade it has been invigorating to see the number of new space companies join RAL Space at Harwell. We’ve seen our own facilities grow and with them a buzz of space activity has sprung up. We now work in the centre of a thriving and active space cluster. Which is great for the UK as we focus our efforts on continuing to be a major player in the global space technology arena.”

The Space Cluster is attracting significant private investment into the UK’s thriving space sector, with venture capitalist and private wealth funding focusing on companies at Harwell Campus.

Read more about the Harwell Space Cluster.

Science and Technology Facilities Council
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