Boost for UK space sector as new facility offers cheaper and greener rocket testing

A new gold standard national rocket test facility has been unveiled by Science Minister Amanda Solloway today.

The centre will allow UK companies and academics to test state-of-the-art propulsion engines which are used to move small satellites in space at a more affordable rate than having to go abroad. It will also allow new types of more sustainable propellants to be tested, such as Hydrogen Peroxide and Liquid Oxygen which are more environmentally friendly in sourcing, storage and combustion.

Based at the Westcott Space Cluster in Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone, the new National Space Propulsion Test Facility (NSPTF), which received £4 million in funding from the UK Space Agency, is the only facility of its kind in the UK. It is one of only 3 in the world and will create around 60 jobs.

Until now, companies could test extremely small engines in the UK but had to go overseas to test bigger engines. The new facility will tackle this issue and help grow the UK’s status as a leading space player, giving our space industry the resources it needs to expand.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “As we build back better we are investing in our brightest space scientists, the facilities they work in and the technologies they are creating. This pioneering facility will support our ambitious space businesses, enabling them to undertake complex spacecraft engine testing, while boosting the local economy by creating highly skilled jobs.”

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