LONDON Space was the theme at the official opening of Velocity, Bradford, a managed workspace unit specialising in offering business support to high-tech, high-growth digital, technology, and media and telecoms sector.
A 30 ft Skybolt pay load rocket was on-site to compliment presentations from Jean-Loup J M Chrétien, the first European Astronaut in space, Danny Meaney, managing director of Velocity and David Williams, the director general of British National Space Council.
Chrétien used his own experiences, he is also managing director of a space engineering company, based in Texas, to inform SMEs and businesses about the opportunities offered by the space industry.
Other events included the latest video footage from Virgin Galactic and a presentation from Williams who stressed that the U.K.’s £135 million annual contribution to the European Space Agency (ESA) programmes means that a similar value of contracts in return are available for U.K. companies to bid for under its 'juste retour' system.
“Space systems are now an integral aspect of many areas of daily life, such as communications, navigation, disaster monitoring, climate understanding and science exploration,” said Williams.
“Many of these activities are now commercial ones, and the space industry can no longer be defined simply in terms of the hardware of launchers and spacecraft. There are significant commercial opportunities in the downstream activities of the space industry such as satellite broadcasting and navigation and this needs to be recognised in the future activities of the U.K. space programme.”
Bradford is the first U.K. location for Velocity center with others planned for Manchester, London and Sheffield. Aimed at start-ups, spin-outs and existing companies focussed on sector innovation, Velocity Bradford provides managed workspace, support, advice and service for occupying businesses to enter a global marketplace.
From left: Danny Meaney, managing director of Velocity; David Williams, the director general of British National Space Council; and Tom Riordan, CEO of Yorkshire Forward.