Harwell celebrates growth in number of space businesses

Harwell Space Cluster

The Harwell Space Cluster has added 14 new companies to its impressive roster, which now makes up 92 organisations including the UK and European Space Agencies, STFC RAL Space and The Satellite Applications Catapult. Collectively employing over 1,040 people,

Dr Joanna Hart Development Manager for Harwell Space Cluster said: “This growth demonstrates that successive UK governments have been wise to invest heavily in supporting the growth and competitiveness of the high-tech Space sector at Harwell.”

One of the start-ups on campus is Archangel Imaging (AI), which builds distributed intelligence systems and advanced unmanned camera systems that can help with operations that are ‘off the grid’, or away from bandwidth. Some of these projects include protecting oceans and dealing with disasters.

Jonathan Mist, CEO and founder of Archangel Imaging (AI), said: “AI was formed at Harwell in 2016 to focus on solving problems the cloud can’t reach. Many of our biggest challenges as a species, like protecting our oceans or dealing with disasters, require operations without high bandwidth or reliable communications.”

“By using robotics, drone and space technology, we plan to provide workable solutions to these urgent issues. One example is our Wildlife Activity Monitoring Camera which can help detect animal presence and poachers approaching protected sites. Last month, this product won an Alconics Award in the ‘AI for Good’ category.”

Europe’s most concentrated Space cluster is comprised of commercial, public and academic organisations focused on driving innovation in the UK Space market.

Dr Barbara Ghinelli, Director of Harwell Campus Cluster Development, said: “Collaboration across our three clusters has led to innovations such as repurposing space technology used to scan stars in distant galaxies, to create a 3D medical X-ray machine that can be used to detect cancer. The project is now jointly funded by the UK Space Agency, European Space Agency and the NHS. Health and space- heritage technology may seem like unlikely bedfellows, but it is a partnership that has led directly to life-saving technology.”

One organisation in the Space Cluster that has benefitted from campus collaboration is AVS UK, a technology development company that develops bespoke engineering solutions for hazardous science and technology markets including aeronautics and space.

Alberto Garbayo, Director of AVS UK, says: “Harwell Campus Space Cluster has been a fantastic homefor the last ten years for two reasons; firstly, AVS UK collaborates with a number of businesses also located here, including ISIS and RAL Space. Secondly, the ability to build technology for organisations working across the Clusters has been of huge benefit for us commercially. As we move further into the development of our innovative catalogue of Space products in propulsion, thermal and in-orbit services, we are launching URA Thrusters, a new venture developing novel disruptive in-space water propulsion systems for a broad range of spacecraft, which will also benefit from the Campus’ interdisciplinary skills and capabilities.”

On Thursday 27th June 2019, Harwell Space Cluster is hosting a Showcase event at the STFC RAL Visitor Centre to highlight the strength, diversity and success of the innovative Space organisations that are located at Harwell Campus.

Harwell Campus is rapidly expanding via a private public partnership between Harwell Oxford Partners and U+I, plus two Government backed agencies, the UKRI Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

Formerly known as the ‘Atomic Village’, Harwell Campus is now home to over £2billion of open access scientific facilities and 5,500 skilled people in total. With a rich history of innovation – it was the site where nuclear energy was generated for the first time in Europe – the 710-acre site now fosters collaboration through clusters focused on Space, Healthcare and Energy, comprising 250 commercially minded organisations.