Satellite Applications Catapult to invest in Earth Observation expertise in the East Midlands

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The Satellite Applications Catapult today announces it will grow its presence in the East Midlands, supporting the Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology and Earth Observation Centre (METEOR) at Space Park Leicester over the next five years.

Since its inception, the Catapult has recognised and supported the growth of the burgeoning space sector across the UK through its Regional Centres of Excellence Programme. Its East Midlands Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications (EMCoE) was established in early 2014, and current partners include the University of Leicester, the National Centre for Earth Observation and the British Geological Survey. With strong relationships with businesses, LEPs and universities across the region, EMCoE actively supports business growth by connecting businesses with research experts and through the formation of new commercial and collaborative partnerships.

The exciting new development of the METEOR project at Space Park Leicester will establish a new world-leading research, innovation and teaching hub bringing together academic research, and industrial space and Earth observation (EO) R&D, building on the activities that have been supported through EMCoE. The Catapult is delighted to announce its commitment to support METEOR as part of our future ambitions for our regional programme. We will use the centre to expand our approach to supporting commercialisation of EO data, and foster collaborations between academics and companies in the region and across the nation to turn research concepts and outcomes into commercial ventures.

With the success of the Centres of Excellence Programme, the Catapult is constantly looking for new and creative ways to support the space sector across the UK. The heritage in earth observation and space science at the University of Leicester, the strength of the local industry and the investment going into the Space Park make it an ideal location for the Catapult to establish a permanent presence where we can locate staff, run projects and deliver other Catapult services, as we do currently in Harwell and Westcott.

This move is part of a structured plan of investment regionally, as focus areas for satellite applications continue to develop their own identities in different parts of the country.  For example, the Catapult’s South Coast Centre of Excellence has become a hub for expertise in maritime applications and Cornwall, through the Catapult’s South West Centre of Excellence, has developed expertise in innovative healthcare solutions powered by satellites.

As the regional centre of excellence programme continues to grow, the Catapult will also explore opportunities to contribute to the proposed manufacturing base at Space Park Leicester, using the skills and experience developed through the Catapult’s Disruptive Innovation for Space Centre (DISC) at Harwell.

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult said:

“Our centre in the East Midlands has become a vital focus point for space organisations in and out of the region. As we expand our capabilities around the country, it is vital we invest in regional expertise, particularly where there are clear links with local innovative businesses and research. 

Leicester continues to provide leadership in the field of Earth observation. The development of the METEOR project strengthens this position and the Satellite Applications Catapult is delighted to be collaborating to support this exciting initiative. By growing our expertise in Earth observation in Leicester alongside METEOR, we will be able to accelerate our mission to identify and support the world-class space services sector that is rapidly establishing itself in the UK .”