Leicester as the place for space

Leicester celebrates over 50 years of space research. The University of Leicester has a long and distinguished record of involvement in space science. Every year since 1967 has seen a Leicester-built instrument operating in space. The University holds, and has held, vital roles in many space missions for space agencies including NASA, European Space Agency, UK Space Agency, ISRO (India) and JAXA (Japan), covering astronomical, planetary and Earth observation science missions. These include NASA/ESA’s James Webb Space Telescope, ESA’s Bepi-Colombo mission, and ESA’s and EUMETSAT’s Meteosat Second Generation missions.

The city is also home to the National Space Centre – a key visitor attraction in the UK, which contains a wide variety of interactive hands on galleries related to space science, astronomy and technology.

Located next to the National Space Centre, DOCK was recently created as part of a new business investment area for innovation and technology industries, called ‘Pioneer Park’. It was selected as one of five regional space incubators in the UK to receive funding from the UK Space Agency.

Space Park Leicester has also been set up as an ambitious initiative to develop a global hub and collaborative community based on space and space-enabled technologies. A collaboration between the University of Leicester, the City of Leicester and the Leicester and Leicestershire Economic Partnership (LLEP) it aims to be a hub for space research, learning, public engagement and innovation.

Building a grassroots community for ‘new space’

Now is an exciting time for the space industry as more and more people and/or organisations can participate in the industry. No longer is it just governments and large companies that can afford to launch satellites. We are on the verge of a ‘new space race’ where the players, technology, and services are as diverse as it is innovative.

Leicester is celebrated as one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the UK. With a population of around 500,000 people, Leicester is the tenth largest city in the UK. Located right at the heart of the UK it makes travel to other parts of the country easy.

It is home to a growing entrepreneurial community with Leicester Startups and in the heart Leicester’s Cultural Quarter there is LCB Depot, home to creative enterprise and enterprising creatives.

The city is home to two leading universities: the University of Leicester and De Montfort University, which respectively are seeking to enable innovation through their respective centres: Leicester Innovation Hub and the Innovation Centre.

We seek to connect with many of these existing groups and beyond to help bring about new ideas and foster innovation around space.