New Space science laboratory offers 27.7m pound boost to UKs space industry
09 Jul 2015



Today marks a giant leap for the UK space industry as 2 major new space facilities are opened at the UK Space Gateway in Oxfordshire including the new STFC RAL Space integration and test facility ‘R100’.

Jo Johnson speaking in front of an audience at the inauguration of R100.

​Jo Johnson speaking at the inauguration of R100

Credit: STFC RAL Space

Speaking at the inauguration event the Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson said:

“With the heritage of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory it would be hard to find another facility that has done more to establish the credentials of UK space science. We set the standard for space science technology and British ingenuity is helping mankind look back at the formation of our universe to see the first stars and galaxies, and nothing could be more exciting or thrilling than that.

And space science is of course not just an end in itself, but as one of our 8 great technologies satellite technology underpins so many of our key industrial sectors.

This new facility means the UK now has one of the best testing facilities anywhere in the world, and I’m delighted to be part of the opening of the R100 Development and Test Facility today.”

Dr Chris Mutlow, Director of RAL Space said:

“Our new integration and test facility provides capability for the needs of the next generation of spacecraft and instruments, and will contribute to the growing community of space focussed businesses, capabilities and skills located at the Harwell Campus space Gateway.”

“Our R100 building is a major expansion of our test facilities; including two new 5m diameter Space Test Chambers along with a vibration facility, clean rooms and AIV (Assembly, Integration and Verification) control room. With Phase 2 of the project currently expected to be completed by June 2017 these are incredibly exciting times to be working at RAL Space”.

The first instrument to arrive for calibration in Phase 1 of this new state of the art facility will be the ESA Sentinel 4 UVN (Ultra-violet/Visible/Near-infrared) instrument, which is destined for geo-stationary orbit forms part of Copernicus, the European Earth observation programme.

Also today saw the opening of the new ECSAT building – the European Space Agency’s (ESA) home in the UK. ESA’s UK facility has been developing steadily since 2008, following the UK government’s decision to increase its contribution to ESA and the new building will host 120+ jobs including teams in telecommunications and integrated applications. Special emphasis will be put on the development of new markets for satellite-based services and applications. The building will also house the Earth Observation Climate Office, Science and Exploration teams and Technology and Quality Management teams supporting ESA research and development programmes in the UK, focusing on ‘game-changing’ technologies and capabilities.


Sarah Smart
Head of Communications, RAL Space
Tel: 01235 445742

Mob: 07837634683 

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries