COLLABORATION

Airbus is moving to the home of UK space industry – the Space Park

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Airbus is to relocate its Leicestershire-based Earth Observation expert team to the £25m first phase of Space Park Leicester.

The aerospace giant Airbus has long called Leicester its home, but the company’s Earth Observation team is shifting its base to be closer to the epicentre of the UK space industry. And who can blame then when that new office is set to be in the first phase of the brand new Space Park Leicester.

The University of Leicester has announced that the global company will move into the first phase of the development after its current lease expires.

Others are expected to join Airbus as the new facility promises to make its mark both on the UK space industry and Leicester’s community.

“Space Park Leicester will be transformational for our University, City, region and the UK Space Industry,” acting vice chancellor for the University of Leicester, Edmund Burke, said in a statement. “I am delighted that Airbus Intelligence, who have been a long-standing strategic partner, will locate to the Space Park.

“This will attract students to study in Leicester and, afterwards, to pursue their professional career here.”

The Space Park, opening in late 2020, is expected to create more than 2,500 jobs and will include research and development across the entire space value chain, with plans now being finalised for a new open-access satellite manufacturing facility aimed at rapid, low-cost access to space.

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Space Park Leicester will be a hub for businesses in the sector to set up and grow and work with the largest space-related academic talent pool in the UK.

The development has received the admiration of the UK’s Minister for Investment, Graham Stuart, who called it a “high potential opportunity” during a speech at the UK Space Conference in Newport on Wednesday.

The facility is anticipated to “increase market penetration and exports by reducing the cost of satellite build and enabling better data-driven products, services and solutions in the rapidly growing space sector.”

UK space industry
Rendering of the £25 million first phase of Space Park Leicester. Source: University of Leicester

To deliver the project, the university will work closely with a range of local, national and international partners. A key player in that is Airbus itself, bringing its world-renowned name and international draw.

“We are delighted that Airbus Intelligence, a key strategic partner for the university, are locating at Space Park Leicester. We have a long and successful track record of working together with Airbus on impactful, industry-relevant research and providing the next generation of talent,” chief executive of Leicester Science Parks, Grant Bourhill, said.

“The presence of such an established, global leader in space and its applications at Space Park Leicester, will attract other supply-chain partners as well as encourage the development of new start-ups, creating a dynamic industry-academic cluster.”