Leicester City Council has granted planning permission for the second phase development of Space Park Leicester, a landmark initiative to create a world-leading cluster for innovative research, enterprise and education in space and Earth observation, helping the UK capture a growing share of the burgeoning space market.
The University of Leicester has received planning permission for the second phase of the £100 million Space Park Leicester project. Phase two of the project will focus on research into Artificial Intelligence and robot-assisted satellite production, in addition to research into novel solutions for downstream space data challenges.
Construction of the first phase of Space Park Leicester is underway, with the official ground-breaking ceremony taking place at the end of January. Construction of the second phase is anticipated to commence Spring this year, with the full site expected to be completed in 2021.
Space Park Leicester is currently being developed by the University of Leicester in collaboration with local, national and international partners including Leicester City Council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership.
The work undertaken at Space Park Leicester will be driven by partnerships, and will include creating a bespoke hub for the National Centre for Earth Observation, as well as providing state-of-the-art facilities for space research, development and manufacturing. By drawing on the expertise of both industry and academia, working together in one location, Space Park Leicester will drive research excellence and the application of that research.
The ambition for phase three is for a Low Cost Access to Space (LoCAS) satellite manufacturing facility for the manufacture of mid-range satellites.
By bringing together and co-locating academic groups together with industrial partners, Space Park Leicester will support and be pivotal to the Government’s Industrial Strategy to capture a significant share of the £400 billion global space market. Additionally it is anticipated that the project will be beneficial for the local and regional economy, creating over 2500 jobs.
City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “These are exciting and ambitious plans that will bring specialist space and technology businesses to our city, building on the reputation of the National Space Centre and the University of Leicester. We’re pleased to support the university in this project, which will attract more investment, research activity and high value jobs to Leicester.”
Grant Bourhill, Chief Executive of Science Parks and Interim Director Research & Enterprise at the University of Leicester, said: “Securing planning permission for the second phase is another step forward in our ambition to create a world leading space hub right here in Leicester.
“This brings together three key areas of focus for our University; high quality research; working with industry and other partners to create impact from that research together with local and regional prosperity. Achieving planning permission is another key milestone and we look forward to working closely with our partners to put Leicester at the centre of space-related research, innovation and skills development.”