Scottish satellite applications centre to open at Strathclyde

Strathclyde University has opened a new centre aimed at linking businesses to the UK’s multi-billion pound space sector.

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.

According to the University, 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 cities.

Prof Sir Jim McDonald, principal of the University, said: ’Scotland’s space sector is already driving the development of new technologies through leading-edge research and technology-driven companies. The challenge now is to bring universities, businesses and space agencies together to enable the sector to reach its full potential.

‘The new Centre of Excellence will play an important role in helping companies to identify where satellite data can assist them in new and exciting ways, from measuring wind speeds from space to determine optimum locations for offshore wind farms, to using satellite navigation for integrated transport systems in future ‘smart cities’.’

The space industries in the UK produce 40 per cent of the world’s small satellites, and currently contribute around £8.2bn to the economy, a rise of 16 per cent since 2009.

The Strathclyde University-based centre will work alongside Centres of Excellence hosted by Business Durham and Leicester University, and will bring together expertise from other Scottish institutions including the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh, the Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee and including Clyde Space, along with Scottish Enterprise.

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Catapult, said: ’These Centres of Excellence are an essential part of our national engagement strategy and will help us deliver our core objective: to help foster growth across the UK economy through the exploitation of space.

Our central location in Harwell, with its unique concentration of space and other high-tech organisations, provides access to a wealth of expertise and facilities. Now, these Centres of Excellence will extend our reach throughout the UK, helping us support the national objective to capture a 10 per cent share of the global space market by 2030.’

The new Centre of Excellence will work in tandem with the University’s existing space centres, which together form the Strathclyde Space Institute, including: the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory, the Centre for Future Air-Space Transportation Technology, the Space Mechatronic Systems Technology Lab, the Centre for Space Science and Applications, and the Scottish Space School, which aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.