A new centre dedicated to the exploration of deep space is to be built at the Space Park Leicester site, after the Wolfson Foundation awarded a £500,000 grant towards the project.
The new Wolfson Deep Space Centre will foster collaboration between business and universities to develop solutions to major challenges in space exploration, such as powering longer missions without solar power.
One of Space Park Leicester’s key priorities will involve developing methods to lower the cost of placing satellites in orbit, and using these to provide data and services that benefit society and enhance everyday lives. The grant from the Wolfson Foundation will enable the Centre to apply those same approaches to changing the way we explore the distant planets.
Not only will the new Deep Space Centre provide exciting opportunities for university students to be involved in real space projects, but it will work with the National Space Centre and National Space Academy – partners in Space Park Leicester – to develop new activities that support students and teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects at GCSE and A-level.
Using the exciting mission concepts and technology developments that will come from the Centre, the University of Leicester aims to inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.
Estimates suggest the space park could contribute £750 million a year to the economy, lowering the cost of the manufacture and launch of satellites and as an international centre for processing the data they provide.
Space Park Leicester could eventually lead to 2,500 new jobs and attract other high tech businesses to the city. Scheduled to open in 2021, this landmark international initiative is being developed by the University of Leicester in collaboration with partners, including the LLEP and Leicester City Council. The aim is to create a world-leading cluster for innovative research, enterprise and education in space and Earth observation.
The Wolfson Foundation is an independent grant-making charity that aims to promote the civic health of society by supporting excellence in science, health, heritage, humanities & the arts. Since 1955, almost £900 million (£1.9 billion in real terms) has been awarded to nearly 11,000 projects and individuals across the UK, all on the basis of expert peer review. As part of this, the Wolfson Foundation is committed to supporting research intensive universities and institutions, through capital grants to enable exceptional research.
Space Park Leicester is supported by a £13.175m allocation from the Local Growth Fund, a pot of government funding awarded to the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Limited (LLEP) for projects that benefit the local area and economy. Space Park Leicester is located within the Loughborough and Leicester Science and Innovation Enterprise Zone.
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