• Government sets out vision for UK Space-Sector growth
    George Freeman visits the National Satellite Test Facility at the launch of the NSS (credit STFC)

News & Views

Government sets out vision for UK Space-Sector growth

Oct 15 2021

A strategic approach outlining its priorities for the high growth UK space sector was launched by UK Science Minister George Freeman (Sept 27) at the Harwell Space Cluster on September 27.

The National Space Strategy (NSS), led by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Ministry of Defence, sets out the ways the government will:

  • unlock growth in the UK space sector
  • collaborate internationally with partners and allies
  • upgrade the UK’s space capabilities
  • grow the UK as a global science superpower.

STFC Executive Chair Professor Mark Thomson said: “This strategy shows that space remains a high priority for the government, and STFC will continue to play a vital role in delivering its aims. With our expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and strong links to space-technology businesses, STFC will continue the drive for the UK to become one of the world’s leading space economies and inspire the next generation of science leaders.”

After the strategy launch, the Minister toured the world-leading facilities on the campus, including the National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF) part of Science Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) RAL Space. He also visited research institutes and companies within the space cluster to find out more about the campus’ role in supporting the UK’s space sector growth.

Dr Barbara Ghinelli, Director of Harwell Campus Business Development and Clusters, said: "Harwell Space Cluster has more space companies within walking distance than anywhere else on our planet.

“A globally unique asset, it showcases the UK’s internationally competitive space technology and expertise to a wide audience. Through its stakeholders and companies it is connected to capability across the UK, linking supply chains to international customers.

“The Harwell Space Cluster, is looking forward to working with all its partners across industry, academia and public sector to deliver on the National Space Strategy.”

One of the flagship facilities of the space cluster is STFC’s own RAL Space. It has worked on 217 instruments that have flown in space, including the recent ESA Solar Orbiter mission and upcoming Webb Space Telescope. During the Minister’s visit, Professor Chris Mutlow, Director of RAL Space and Chair Cross UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Space Coordination Group, said: “We’re delighted to welcome the Science Minister to the NSTF today. The new facility will play an important role in enabling the UK’s thriving satellite manufacturing industry to grow, offering complete testing for large spacecraft for the very first time in the UK. We stand ready to help get the latest ideas off the ground.

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