The 19th June was the date of the first Space Conference to be held as part of the Liverpool International Business Festival. The Liverpool International Business Festival is a major event that occurs every two years and this year ran from 12th to 20th July with specific themed days. As part of the Transport Day the Northern Space Consortium had been asked to arrange a one day Space Conference.
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This year's UK Space Conference, titled ‘Inspire, Enable, Connect’, was held in Manchester and featured 28 sessions on subjects ranging from international growth and security, to launchers and Mars exploration.
More than 180 speakers took to the stage, including Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) Jan Woerner, Chair of the Northern Space Consortium (NSC) Alan Cross, and British ESA astronaut Tim Peake.
The conference included an exhibition hall, where a record 109 organisations took stands, and a parallel event of hands-on interactive exhibits and educational activities that welcomed 1,500 visitors.
The Northern Space Consortium (NSC) not only exhibited an extremely popular stand, but also engaged with the Conference across a range of platforms, diversifying and strengthening it's network of partners, both at home and abroad.
As well as attending the Conference, the NSC also hosted an informal networking event for it's members at the Hilton Deansgate, the evening before conference opened. Guest speakers included:
- Ian Downey - Ambassador, IAP Programme, European Space Agency
- Dr Adam Dissel - President, Reaction Engines LTD
- John Whalley - Chief Executive, Aerospace Wales
- Michael Polson - Invest NI
- Graeme Bond - FDM Digital Solutions
During the Conference, the NSC's Chair, Alan Cross, was invited to address the delegates in a soapbox session and was subsequently nominated for one of the UK space industry's prestigious 'Sir Arthur Clarke Awards'.
“Once again, the UK Space Conference proves the importance and dynamism of the space industry, both in the UK and beyond. As our country looks to the future, there has been no better time for us to embrace the incredible innovation, job creation and economic growth that our thriving space industry provides.”
- Alan Cross, Chair of the Northern Space Consortium
The UK Space Conference is held every two years. The host city of the 2019 conference has yet to announced.
The Plough Inn in St Asaph was the venue for our second networking event. The event was held immediately after the Glyndwr Innovations "UK Space Industry - Exploring the opportunities in the supply chain" Conference.
It enabled delegates to relax after the Conference and network. Attendees included representatives of Aerospace Wales, space hardware manufacturers, consultants, geospatial data users, space mechanisms and educational establishments and organisations.
There were a wide range of topics discussed including UK launchers and launch sites, future satellites and constellations, space stations, the use of space data and space as a means of promoting STEM.
Many thanks for all who attended our first Sat Up North event. Special thanks go to Helen Rogerson, ESA Technology Transfer Broker (UK) based at STFC Daresbury; Richard Hazelwood, Technical Sales Manager at Glyndwr Innovations; and Dr. Andre Batako from Liverpool John Moores University. Who all gave speeches on some of the latest developments occurring in the space industry in their area.
We had a very diverse crowd, from two software engineers starting their own image analysis company, to an on-call science officer for an active telescope based out in the Canary Islands.
Some of the topics discussed included the funding and incubation opportunities at STFC Daresbury and Glyndwr Innovations. A new engineering technique which is seeking commercialisation and also LCR 4.0; a new program helping SMEs explore the potential of Industry 4.0 technologies by providing a range of support.
Some of the details can be found here:
Our thanks for reading. Hope to see you at the next event.
The NSC Team
Our inaugural event, 'The Case For Space As An Economic Driver' was deemed of such importance, that the UK Space Agency used the opportunity to announce funding for six national incubation centres, including Daresbury in Cheshire.
The event, hosted by the Office of The Mayor of Liverpool at the iconic Cunard Building, featured speakers from several bodies, including the UK Space Agency and the Northern Ireland Space Office, an organisation that has transformed Northern Ireland’s previously limited space economy into a tens of millions of pounds per year – and growing – industry.
Among attendees were council and city leaders from across the North West, a delegation of Government officials from the Isle of Man, organisations already heavily involved in the space economy, leaders of various Chambers of Commerce, noted space industry experts and representatives from similar national and global organisations.
The UK Space Agency confirmed plans for the business incubation centres to support start-up companies across the breadth of the space sector.
They will be based in the North of England, North Wales and the east Midlands, including the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) laboratory at the Sci Tech Daresbury site.
Sci Tech Daresbury is a National Science and Innovation Campus that co-locates high tech businesses with world-leading science and technology, making it an ideal location to incubate space companies.
Colin Baldwin, UK space gateway programme manager at the UK Space Agency, said: “North England, the Midlands and North Wales all have the potential to make a significant contribution to our thriving space sector.
“There are opportunities for a range of companies developing innovative products that can match the needs of the space industry.”
He added: “We’re committed to nurturing business and research in these regions, and showing small businesses how they can benefit from our £11.8bn space industry.”
The agency said the incubation funding will grow space in the regions by providing a supportive business envirnoment to assist entrepreneurs to develop small companies in a bid to achieve a 10% share of the global space market by 2030.