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(l-r) Sandie Alcock with tenants David Zoles, Mike Kearns and Celestino Gomez at the Harwell Innovation Centre, Oxfordshire

International space hub created at Harwell Innovation Centre

Space is the New Year theme at Harwell Innovation Centre with three international space industry companies all setting-up base due to the presence of the European Space Agency (ESA) at Harwell Oxford Campus in addition to public and private sector commitment to sector growth.

The UK Space Agency alone is making an extra investment of over £200 million in Europe’s space programme to play a leading role in Europe’s Mars mission, to give UK researchers access to the $100 billion International Space Station programme in addition to investment in telecommunications for the development of a low-cost flexible satellite.  This supports the UK’s ambition to grow a £30 billion space industry by 2030*.

The three space industry companies at Harwell Innovation Centre, are:

  • GMV – originating in Spain, the company operates on an international basis providing space customers with mission analysis and systems engineering, satellite navigation systems, ground segment, data processing and a number of space applications
  • Kayser Space – a family run business originating in Italy, Kayser Italia has set-up a UK sister company to further secure its presence in Europe. The mission of Kayser Space is the development of integrated applications in Space. Furthermore, building on the expertise acquired over the years by Kayser Italia within the Life Sciences Space, develop spin-off in non-space system, with ground-based systems.
  • NEPTEC UK – originating in Canada, this spaceflight engineering company made Harwell Innovation Centre its European Headquarters one year ago and has since expanded within the centre to take additional office space following contract wins from the ESA and UK Space Agency (UKSA)

Managing Director of Kayser Space, David Zolesi, said: “The UK vision of the space market makes it a very good place to establish a business and the Harwell area is the place to be.  We are in the presence of excellent scientists already established with space industry experience and there is more scope in the UK for design and build of commercial applications beyond the space sector.”

Celistino Gomez, GMV Country Manager, UK, added: “GMV already has 1,100 employees spanning Europe, the US and Asia, however, we feel it is important to have a presence in the UK due to the increase in support towards space from the government and private sector with a clear strategy mapped out for future growth.”

Harwell Innovation Centre, located at Harwell Oxford Campus near Didcot and managed by Oxford Innovation, has just over 25,000 sq. ft. of office space ranging from 100 sq. ft. to 1,700 sq. ft with a current occupancy of 99 per cent.  Serviced offices are available to let at short notice and the centre’s flexible approach means businesses can take more space within the centre or at Culham Innovation Centre, as they expand.

Sandie Alcock, Centre Manager, Harwell Innovation Centre and Culham Innovation Centre, said: “Harwell and Culham certainly seem to be the best locations in the UK for space industry companies and I know that our customers are already talking to each other about future collaborations in addition to our neighbours on both sites.  The Harwell and Culham teams look forward to hearing more about the exciting projects they are involved with in addition to accommodating their future growth.”

NEPTEC UK currently employs eight people and has successfully established its services in the UK over the past year in addition to doubling its headcount.   They plan to continue this growth in 2016 and will be hiring additional staff.

Mike Kearns, Managing Director of NEPTEC UK, comments: “We have taken additional space at Harwell Innovation Centre gradually over the last six months.  It’s extremely advantageous for an SME to be able to expand at a rate that’s suitable for the business without upfront investment.”

GMV and Kayser Space are both currently recruiting for a range of roles including systems engineers in addition to telecommunications engineers and GMV is keen to strengthen ties with UK universities to further research.

Sandie Alcock, concludes: “All three companies have echoed the same reasons for locating their UK businesses at Harwell Innovation Centre, which comes down to the calibre of employees we have in the area, the flexibility we offer our customers and of course the space industry businesses already located at Harwell and Culham.  Oxford Innovation hopes to attract more space industry companies throughout 2016 as the UK’s space industry continues to grow.”