The European Space Agency (ESA) has chosen to build a £100 million space-tech incubation centre in Leicester, UK. The ESA is not part of the European Union
Space Park Leicester is an extension of ESA’s existing Business Incubation thrust for R&D. It joins Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire, Sci-Tech Daresbury in the North West and the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh – each one with established strong links to the world leading specialisms that companies joining the programme can benefit from. The existing National Space Centre is already in Leicester.
Also helping is the University of Leicester which has a global reputation in satellite and space-related research.
Global players such as Lockheed Martin, Thales Alenia Space, Hewlett Packard, Airbus and Amazon have already signed up to phase two of the space park, to be called the Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology and Earth Observation Research Centre – or METEOR. It will work on the practical applications of satellite technology and the data they capture.
At its other sites, the ESA incubation programme – a collaboration with the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the UK Space Agency – has already helped 87 start-up companies turn their ideas into viable products and services.
Overall it is expected that some 2500 jobs will be created.