New centre enables small space companies to mean bigger business in the UK

A round of applause rippled across the room at the Surrey Research Park last Friday (May 6) when ISIC-Surrey was officially launched, heralding a boost for the UK space industry.

Together with its sister centre, ISIC-Harwell in Oxfordshire, which was opened by Prince Andrew and which guests in Surrey witnessed live by video link, it means space-related SMEs (small and medium enterprises) can benefit from a whole host of resources, facilities, and the chance to network with companies in the vicinity.

Since SMEs make up the majority of the UK’s space industry, with an estimated 71% of companies having fewer than three employees, small companies mean big business.

ISIC-Surrey (International Space Innovation Centre-Surrey), based in Guildford, is setting up the county as an even bigger player in the world of technology within the UK, with numerous companies choosing to be based there.

Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), a global presence in its pioneering small satellites, the county is proving to be an exciting place to be based for the movers and shakers in the UK space industry.

Speaking to companies drawn to the ISIC-Surrey launch, where BBC science correspondent Jonathan Amos acted as MC for the event, a keen interest in the centre was palpable.

Obviously we won’t see results materialise overnight from the fledgling companies who are set to benefit from the centres , but it’ll be fascinating to see what exciting ‘births’ spring forth from the business incubator during the next few years.

Image of an artist’s impression of the Proba satellite courtesy of the European Space Agency (ESA).
© Melanie Hall 2017