Dr Vallance, who took up the role of GCSA in April, visited the Satellite Applications Catapult, where he met UK Space Agency Chief Executive Dr Graham Turnock along with UK Space Agency directors Catherine Mealing-Jones and Chris Castelli, Stuart Martin, Chief Executive of the Satellite Applications Catapult and Keira Shepperson, a member of the UK Space Agency Audit Committee.
He was also given a tour of STFC RAL Space’s R100 building by STFC RAL Space Director Dr Christopher Mutlow where he met Ben Olivier, Chief Executive of Thales Alenia Space UK, and Professor Andrew Holland from the Space Action Network (SPAN).
Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:
“The Harwell Space Cluster boasts world-leading skills, with a rapidly growing group of 80 space organisations employing 800 people. From start-ups to multinationals, and academia to national R&D facilities, the cluster is a vital part of the UK Space Agency’s ambition to grow Britain’s share of the global space market to 10% by 2030.
“It was fantastic to have the opportunity to introduce Dr Vallance to some of the jewels in the crown of the UK space sector.”
Dr Patrick Vallance said:
“My first impression is I’m impressed by the business opportunity in the space sector being bigger than people might realise. The second is the ability to have a facility like the Harwell Space Cluster that supports businesses by providing the sort of infrastructure and basic scientific and technical knowledge that businesses can’t just get going themselves is critically important.
“There’s a very strong academic sector that feeds into the space sector and that’s a really important basis for growth in this area. If there was ever an opportunity for a business sector to grow this looks like one of them.”
The role of the GCSA is to advise the Prime Minister and government on all matters related to science and technology and to ensure that policies and decisions are informed by the best scientific evidence and strategic long-term thinking.
The GCSA is head of the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) profession and Co-chair of the independent Council for Science and Technology which provides high level advice to the Prime Minister.