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Reinforcing the UK Space Industry

6 May 2011

International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC). Credit: STFC

The International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) will celebrate its launch today (6 May 2011) with an opening ceremony conducted by HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science.

Speaking ahead of the event, HRH the Duke of York said: ‘It is reassuring to see that Space is a sector where UK businesses continue to flourish. Innovation and collaboration – within the UK, internationally, business-to-business and business to academia – are essential to maintain this growth and to help the UK compete in the global market.’

With a forecast growth for the global space market of between five and seven percent per annum to 2020 and nearly 10% growth over the last ten years in the UK, the space sector is an increasingly significant area of high-value manufacturing where UK businesses excel. UK businesses already cooperate and compete globally on satellite build projects, instrumentation, data exploitation and application development.

David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, commented on the opening: “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 announced in the Budget.”

The ISIC was announced in March 2010, initially supported by £12.5 million in funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. It is located at Harwell alongside the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the European Space Agency’s UK office. ISIC is a not-for-profit company with partners from industry and the public sector and began trading on 1 April 2011.

Dr Barbara Ghinelli, Executive Chair of ISIC said: ‘We are very excited about ISIC; we believe it is the catalyst that will bring UK space activities and capabilities together and position us to win a larger share of a growing global market. ISIC integrates four cutting-edge facilities - an Earth Observation Hub, a Security and Resilience Unit, a Visualisation and Application Centre, and a Concurrent Design Facility as well as linking to the wider Harwell Space Cluster which includes the ESA Centre, the ESA-STFC Business Incubator Centre and a growing number of commercial companies. Built around these facilities will be a supported innovation environment, encouraging the sharing of ideas and stimulating growth amongst aspiring space and non-space businesses. ISIC will operate in a hub and spoke model, linking national and international capabilities.’

ISIC industrial partners include Astrium Satellites (a world-leading satellite manufacturing company, SSTL (the world’s foremost low-cost satellite company), Logica (a world-leading space software company) and VEGA Space (a specialist in spacecraft operations and operations software). Public sector partners include STFC, NERC, TSB and the UK Space Agency, as well as the University of Surrey.

ISIC Press Contact
Karen Rogers,
T: 01707 368000
M: 07841 066839

Visit the ISIC website. 


The International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) is the first centre of its kind in Europe. ISIC’s is a public-private partnership providing a unique environment where government, universities and industry work together to drive innovation and enterprise, creating new technologies, and developing applications and intellectual property for the benefit of the UK.

With a forecast growth in the space market of between five and seven percent per annum to 2020, ISIC will help create a strong, innovative and dynamic community of space science and technologists. Through partnership and close collaboration ISIC will bring together key UK space capabilities, providing more cost effective ways for delivering commercial and government services.

ISIC comprises five facilities, an Earth Observation Hub, a Security and Resilience Unit, A Visualisation Centre, a Business Incubator and Concurrent Design Facility.

ISIC began trading on 1 April 2011. Founding members include; Astrium Services;
Astrium GEO-Information Services; Logica; NERC/NCEO; STFC; SSTL; TSB: UK Space Agency and VEGA Space Ltd and University of Surrey.

UK Space Agency
The UK Space Agency which is a key member of ISIC, is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space.  It is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions.

Second only to the USA in space science, the UK's thriving space sector contributes £7.5bn a year to the UK economy, directly employs 24,900 and supports a further 60,000 jobs across a variety of industries.

ISIC spoke call for proposals
The Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI), one of the ISIC spokes, will issue a call for proposals on instrumentation technology development on 6th May 2011. The public funding will be £675K plus parallel industry investment of £200-300K. For more information, contact the CEOI.

The UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space.

The UK's thriving space sector contributes £9.1 billion a year to the UK economy and directly employs 28,900 with an average growth rate of almost 7.5%. (The Size and Health of the UK Space Sector 2010/11, preliminary survey results.)

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