Space Agency funding supercharges major development at Westcott

23/11/23 | Park News, Investment News, Sector/Industry News

Space research, manufacturing and testing facilities at the Westcott Space Cluster will get a £5.9 million boost thanks to UK Space Agency funding, which was announced during the UK Space Conference held in Belfast.

The investment is a result of a successful collaborative bid led by URA Thrusters and including Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership (Bucks LEP), Skyports Drone Services and Plastron UK.

Together, they made a compelling submission for the Space Cluster Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) which was delivered by industry, for industry and supported by Government. 

With this substantial financial injection, the Westcott Space Cluster is poised to significantly enhance its capabilities and make substantial contributions to the advancement of space research, manufacturing, and testing. 

Emily Dingle, COO at URA Thrusters, said: “As leaders of the bid we were thrilled to see the overwhelming support from all the members of the Westcott Space Cluster and academia across the United Kingdom. This support demonstrates the recognition of the national importance of our endeavours - the opportunity for Westcott to be an internationally recognised Space Cluster is here!

“From URA’s perspective renting space in the new building and using its state-of-the-art facilities will enable us to further develop and commercialise our sustainable propulsion systems and grow our business here at Westcott.”

Richard Harrington, Chief Executive of the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership said: “The Bucks LEP collaborated with the Government to publish an Industrial Strategy in 2019.  This strategy identified a strong local competency in the Space and related sectors. Building upon its existing assets, the Bucks LEP is thrilled to partner with industry and the UK Space Agency to enhance the UK’s Space testing capability and foster a vibrant Space community to help deliver a part of the National Space Strategy.  This investment continues to turn the dial on innovation and productivity in the UK”.

Dr Paul Bate, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “Westcott Venture Park is a hotbed of innovation in areas such as space propulsion, and it’s exciting to see the space cluster there continue to grow. Enhancing the state-of-the-art facilities on site will help attract new talent to the sector and support important research, manufacturing and testing activities, while catalysing more investment into the region. 

“This project demonstrates the potential of our thriving space sector across the length and breadth of the UK to develop innovative infrastructure that helps us deliver increasingly ambitious missions and capabilities.

“The Space Clusters Infrastructure Fund highlights the government’s commitment to space and will help deliver the goal set out in the National Space Strategy to build one of the most innovative and attractive space economies in the world, developing new skills and creating jobs.”

Bucks LEP is investing in shared facilities and URA will take a pre let in the Westcott Space Hub. Skyports Drone Services will be delivering remote drone operations from the Westcott Space Hub building, occupying the third floor with access to the roof for flights.  Plastron UK is on board as safety consultants, ensuring the design and development of the technical facilities, leveraging their excellent reputation for safety in the space environment. 


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