Space – the final frontier for Yorkshire manufacturers?

Posted on 6 May 2022 by The Manufacturer

"Creating a destination for space technology and manufacturing in Yorkshire is critical and we need to create a buzz around this in our region." That was the message launched by Space Hub Yorkshire chair Mandy Ridyard to an audience of businesses gathered at the AMRC.

In partnership with the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Space Hub Yorkshire (SHY), hosted the event to kick start conversations and share ideas on how local technology, manufacturing and engineering companies of all sizes can unlock the potential opportunities to get involved in this exciting, transformative sector that is worth billions to the UK economy.

SHY chair Mandy Ridyard, who is the successful business woman behind aerospace firm Produmax, explained how the global space market including space-enabled technology will grow to £400bn by 2030 and could be worth £40bn to the UK economy. She is keen to ensure that Yorkshire attracts its fair share.

“The UK government is putting a significant amount of funding behind the space sector at the moment and we want to ensure that Yorkshire is seen as a destination for space research, space skills and the space sector.” said Mandy. “We want to provide a platform for Yorkshire, give it a voice in the space sector and unlock the opportunities it provides.”

Shirley Harrison, Company Engagement Manager at the AMRC, said: “The space sector is not widely understood and feels inaccessible to many businesses, so we’re delighted to bring together organisations from across the region to de-mystify the opportunity.”

More than 80 people gathered to hear from key leaders already working in the UK space sector, which included Thales Alenia Space, Satellite Applications Catapult and Reliance Precision.

Speaking at the event, Alberto Dosio, UK procurement country referent at Thales Alenia Space, a company which designs, operates and delivers satellite-based systems, said the UK is facing a huge growth in the space sector, but needs to be more competitive. He added: “We need to draw more and more from non-space technologies and advanced manufacturing techniques – and perhaps there are some people in the room that can help with this.”

Andrew Butt, Business Manager for Aerospace Defence and Space at Reliance Precision, which provides specialist gears and rotary actuation solutions for space, added that the need for skills and specialist staff are vital. “We want to help develop the skillset of the next generation of engineers, they will be the ones who grow the space industry further,” he said.

Jonathan Bray, AMRC’s Senior Engagement Manager for space, said the AMRC has been asked by Space Hub Yorkshire to sit on its leadership board, adding: “We are excited to build on this new working relationship with SHY and other Catapult centres, with the strategic outcome to support the development of Yorkshire manufacturing into a growing sector for the UK.”

For further updates on the AMRC’s future work within the space sector, click here and for more details about SHY, click here.