Science and Technology Facilities Council
UK Astronomy Technology Centre is key partner in new Scottish Satellite Applications Centre
The UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) in Edinburgh has this week been named one of the key partners in a new Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications that will enable businesses to tap in to the UK’s £8.2 billion space sector.
The UK ATC, part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), will be offering access to satellite test facilities and Big Data expertise as well as giving start-up companies an opportunity to be part of our space-focused Business Incubation Centre which is at the heart of the new ‘Higgs Centre for Innovation’ that has attracted a £10.7M investment from government.
The space-focused Business Incubation Centre (BIC) is based on the successful model being run by STFC in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) at Harwell.
Speaking about the announcement UK ATC Head of Innovation Dr Julian Dines said “Our expertise in developing and exploiting advanced remote-sensing instrumentation and space technology offers businesses the chance to benefit not just from knowledge exchange but also from access to our satellite test facilities and Big Data expertise in an Open Innovation environment”.
Based at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow The Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications is one of three hubs being developed by the Satellite Applications Catapult, part of the UK’s network of technology and innovation companies, to drive economic growth in key sectors. The centre will consolidate links between the science knowledge base and the business community, enabling companies to use satellite data in new ways, from supporting the energy industry to planning future cities.
The UK ATC with its history of involvement in scientific space missions (including the recent Herschel Space Observatory and the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope), will be actively engaging in and collaborating with the Satellite Applications Catapult and its new Centres of Excellence in support of its aim to grow the space activities across the UK.
The space industries in the UK produce 40 per cent of the world’s small satellites, and currently contribute around £8.2 billion to the economy – a rise of 16 per cent since 2009.
The University of Strathclyde-based centre will work alongside Centres of Excellence hosted by Business Durham and the University of Leicester, and will bring together expertise not just from the UK ATC but also from other Scottish institutions including the Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee and companies such as Clyde Space Ltd, along with Scottish Enterprise.
The new Centre of Excellence will start activities from April 2014.
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The Catapult Programme
A Catapult is a technology and innovation centre where the very best of the UK's businesses, scientists and engineers can work side by side on research and development, transforming ideas into new products and services to generate economic growth.
Catapults add an important new dimension to complement existing research and development programmes established by the Technology Strategy Board. March 2014 saw the launch of three new regional ‘Centres of Excellence' in satellite applications. Each new Centre will act as a focal point for Catapult activity in its local area, consolidating the links between the science knowledge base and the business community. View the Catapult announcement htt ps://www.catapult.org.uk/ .
UK Astronomy Technology Centre
The UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) is the national centre for astronomical technology. It is part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council.
UK ATC designs and builds instruments for many of the world's major telescopes, and also applies this expertise in remote-sensing for diverse fields from environmental-monitoring to retinal-imaging. They also project-manage UK and international collaborations and their scientists carry out observational and theoretical research into questions such as the origins of planets and of galaxies.
Based at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, and operated by STFC, its technology can be found in telescopes both on the ground and in space.
The latest development at UK ATC has been the £10.7M BIS investment for the ‘Higgs Centre for Innovation’ to be built over the next few years. The two key themes for this new centre are “Space” and “Big Data” and as such it will host a number of facilities which will complement the Strathclyde regional centre, including:
- Dedicated NanoSat / CubeSat test
and integration labs and cleanrooms – providing access to facilities both
for the incubated companies and other SMEs, for testing space hardware. These
small hardware (nano-satellite) test facilities compliment the larger satellite
test facilities available through STFC’s RAL Space at
- Data visualisation and remote
presence suite – with direct connections to STFC High Performance
computing teams across the UK to enable business / R&D interaction with
organisations across the UK and facilitate cutting-edge Big Data based
research, including the exploitation of satellite data.
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