Harwell satellite hub signs deal with JAI to boost tech transfer
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The UK's Space Mission 2.0 delegation in Houston (screenshot, Innovate UK)

The UK's Space Mission 2.0 delegation in Houston (screenshot, Innovate UK)

Space tech is on the up and up, which this new British-American partnership announced at SpaceCom further demonstrates

According to data from the Satellite Industry Association, the global satellite trade is currently worth an overwhelming $203 billion, a staggering figure that helps explain the explosive growth of satellite firms and partnerships worldwide.

To this end, Harwell’s Satellite Applications Catapult and spacial engineering company JAMSS America Inc (JAI) reached a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week that will see the two groups mutually promote each other’s technologies for commercial purposes. The signing took place at the Space Commerce Conference and Exposition (SpaceCom) in Houston as part of a special UK trip to the U.S. — Space Mission 2.0.

“Since early 2015, we’ve met several times with JAI to discuss cooperation in the commercialization of both organizations’ space application technologies,” said Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult. “Looking ahead over the next 1-2 years, we’ve identified several major business opportunities to learn from each other and forge joint new business activities,” he added.

The agreement is a mark of progress for the Catapult, one of several space-focused incubators in the UK. The agreement will share resources in the hopes of commercializing both organizations’ space properties.

Accompanied by Innovate UK — formerly the Technology Strategy Board — Space Mission 2.0 saw seven companies visit SpaceCom who deal primarily with earth observation satellite imaging (EO). The companies met with reps from other American companies and agencies, including NASA.

“Public/private partnerships enable us to achieve our space exploration goals while benefiting the growing global space industry, and we’re excited about the potential of the British space sector,” said Steven Gonzalez, Associate Manager of NASA’s Strategic Partnership Office.

The growth of annual turnover in the UK's space economy (source: London Economics Case for Space study, screenshot)

The growth of annual turnover in the UK’s space economy (source: London Economics Case for Space study, screenshot)

The UK is trying to break the 40 million pound mark for annual turnover in space tech according to London Economics’ 2015 report The Case for Space. Other startup hubs like Israel, India, and Germany are also heavily invested in the satellite market. EO is used by a number of industries for strategic planning, agritech, and more.

The seven companies on the mission were from London, Oxford, Harwell, and Edinburgh. They included Scottish EO firm Ecometrica, advanced space data analytics corp Rezatec Ltd., EO imager Terrabotics, academic data transfer company Blue Skies Space, Ltd., online EO marketplace Geocento Limited, deployable space structure startup Oxford Space Systems, and machine learning company Gyana.

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