A science centre to help universities and industry work together to develop and exploit space technology officially opens today.
The £40 million International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) in Harwell, Oxfordshire, will be dedicated to space and will be unique in Europe.
Space is seen as a key growth area in the UK where the sector has expanded by 10 per cent in the past decade.
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts, who will conduct the opening ceremony together with the Duke of York, said: “The UK space industry is worth an estimated £7.5 billion, and to continue this success businesses need the right environment for sustainable growth and innovation. That is why space is part of our growth review launched at the Budget.
“ISIC provides excellent facilities for the private sector and academia to work together, encouraging them to develop new space applications and supporting the £10 million National Space Technology Programme,” Willetts said.
ADS, the trade organisation advancing the UK aerospace, defence, security and space industries, welcomed the new space centre.
Graham Chisnall, managing director of aerospace and operations for ADS, said the industry, in partnership with the Government and academia had a plan to boost the space industry to £40 billion per year over the next 20 years, creating an additional 100,000 jobs.
“The new centre at Harwell will be an important part of this growth.”
Space capabilities touched everyone’s lives –from broadcasting to financial services and satellite navigation, Chisnall said.