National Satellite Facility at Harwell, Oxford awards contracts worth £19 million

RAL Space contract

Contracts worth £19 million have been awarded for the first of several major facilities that will form the £99 million National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF), which is to be built and operated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s RAL Space at Harwell Campus.

RAL Space is an integral part of the Government’s Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL). RAL Space carries out world-class space research and technology development with involvement in over 210 space mission

The contracts, awarded to the Italian Angelantoni Test Technologie, NSI-MI Technologies LLC and Team Corporation, will see the development of a large space test chamber (see image), vibration facility and the combined electromagnetic compatibility and antenna measurement system.

Sean Stewart, NSTF Project Manager at RAL Space, said: “Alongside the existing RAL Space assembly, integration and validation facilities, the NSTF will put all the test equipment needed by industry and academia in one place and accessible to everyone. Awarding these contracts is one of the early and hugely significant milestones towards building the NSTF.”

Satellite test facilities at this scale, in one location, do not currently exist in the UK. Once operational in 2021, the NSTF will provide the UK Space sector with all the major testing facilities it needs in one location, without incurring expensive international shipping costs. Located at the heart of the Harwell Space Cluster, this major national infrastructure will support the UK’s space sector as it seeks to capitalise on the estimated 3,500-10,000 satellites that are due to be launched by 2025.

Harwell Space Cluster is the gateway to the UK space sector with 800 people working across 80 organisations.