Maybe it’s just the fact that ‘Leicester’ doesn’t have the same ring to it as ‘
Although readers of The Engineer know better, it’s not difficult to imagine those unfamiliar with the stellar work of British space scientists glancing at the sign and snorting sarcastically, ‘National Space Centre! Yeah right…’
This attitude, of course, couldn’t be further away from the truth.
It’s odd really, considering the quality of the work, and the capacity of space technology to fire the public imagination, that time and again The Engineer hears the same refrain from Britain’s space industry: ‘We don’t get the credit we deserve, graduates don’t know we exist, government should give us more support.’
Whatever the reasons for this, last week’s announcement that the European Space Agency (ESA) is to establish a research centre here in the
The new centre will be sited alongside the Diamond Synchrotron on Oxfordshire’s Harwell Innovation Campus, a hub of technical excellence that, with all due respect to the city of
Though the precise remit of the centre is yet to be fleshed out, it’s expected to build on those big areas of UK expertise; the development of robotic probes and landers, innovative power sources, and environmental monitoring using data from space.
It’s early days, and the centre won’t be up and running for a while yet, but when it does open its doors it will play a crucial role in helping our industry deliver on some of the aims of the government’s civil space strategy announced earlier this year and win a greater share of the global market in space technology.
In the process this potent symbol of