The Satellite Applications Catapult has announced that it will grow its presence in the East Midlands, supporting the Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology and Earth Observation Centre (METEOR) at Space Park Leicester over the next five years.
Since its inception, the Catapult has recognised and supported the growth of the burgeoning space sector across the UK through its Regional Centres of Excellence Programme. Its East Midlands Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications (EMCoE) was established in early 2014, and current partners include the University of Leicester, the National Centre for Earth Observation and the British Geological Survey. With strong relationships with businesses, LEPs and universities across the region, EMCoE supports business growth by connecting businesses with research experts and through the formation of new commercial and collaborative partnerships.
The new development of the METEOR project at Space Park Leicester will establish a new research, innovation and teaching hub bringing together academic research, and industrial space and Earth observation (EO) R&D, building on the activities that have been supported through EMCoE. The Catapult is “delighted to announce its commitment to support METEOR as part of [its] future ambitions for our regional programme. It will use the centre to expand its approach to supporting commercialisation of EO data, and foster collaborations between academics and companies in the region and across the nation to turn research concepts and outcomes into commercial ventures.”
This move is part of a structured plan of investment regionally, as focus areas for satellite applications continue to develop their own identities in different parts of the country.
As the regional centre of excellence programme continues to grow, the Catapult will also explore opportunities to contribute to the proposed manufacturing base at Space Park Leicester, using the skills and experience developed through the Catapult’s Disruptive Innovation for Space Centre (DISC) at Harwell.
Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult said: “Our centre in the East Midlands has become a vital focus point for space organisations in and out of the region. As we expand our capabilities around the country, it is vital we invest in regional expertise, particularly where there are clear links with local innovative businesses and research. Leicester continues to provide leadership in the field of Earth observation.
“The development of the METEOR project strengthens this position and the Satellite Applications Catapult is delighted to be collaborating to support this exciting initiative. By growing our expertise in Earth observation in Leicester alongside METEOR, we will be able to accelerate our mission to identify and support the world-class space services sector that is rapidly establishing itself in the UK.”
Professor Iain Gillespie, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at the University of Leicester said: “The University of Leicester is home to the National Centre for Earth Observation and we are also a recognised powerhouse in high performance computing. We will bring this capability to bear at Space Park Leicester to create a vibrant industry-academic community focussed on the research, development and end use of data for a wide range of applications.
“The Satellite Applications Catapult already has a strong footprint in Leicester and I am delighted that they will be strengthening their presence even further to help translate research into industry for the benefit of the local, regional and national economy.”
Grant Bourhill, Chief Executive Officer of Leicester Science Parks said: “Leicester has a long and successful space heritage, with a University of Leicester built instrument deployed into space every year since 1967. Space Park Leicester, which will open in approximately 18 months, is the next exciting chapter of our space story.
“The Space Park will see industry collocated with academia, jointly working on innovative projects covering the full space value chain, from satellite design and build, through to downstream data and its’ applications. I am delighted therefore that the Satellite Applications Catapult are expanding their presence at the Space Park to accelerate ideas from academia into commercial reality, boosting jobs and productivity.”