European Astrotech makes room for ISO Class 8 cleanroom upgrade

21-Apr-2022

The UK propulsion service provider for the space industry has taken on a new operation at its Westcott site to refurbish its existing facilities after securing $967,000 in funding

European Astrotech is taking on a new operation at Westcott and refurbishing its existing facilities at the Park after securing £740,000 ($967,000) in funding from the Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The company is developing Plot 81 at Westcott, installing 12 connected modular buildings to house offices, a meeting room and a training area with work expected to be completed by mid-March 2022. This has freed up space in the existing facility where the cash is being used for upgrades including an ISO Class 8 cleanroom facility, laboratory and materials test areas.

This has freed up space in the existing facility where the cash is being used for upgrades including an ISO Class 8 cleanroom facility

The B1 and B2 test sites have also been refurbished with the latest data acquisition instrumentation and feed systems. The new base at Plot 81 will be used to expand the training arm of the business with it acting as a consultant for the spaceports set to launch UK missions.

European Astrotech Managing Director, Chris Smith, said: "This is a really exciting time for the business with the growth coming on the back of the rapid development of the UK space industry."

"We're going to be running a four-day course with the Civil Aviation Authority about hazardous propellants and launch operations as they have the task of regulating the new UK spaceports," Smith added.

"We are also teaching postgraduates from UK universities learning about the practical side of rocket testing and Ground Support Equipment builds and we also have Surrey Satellite Technology coming to do a training refresher course on High Test Peroxide handling," said Smith. "We want to be able to offer subsidised courses for students and postgraduates with the onus on getting them up to speed before they go onto industry."

A space legacy

European Astrotech has worked with spaceports globally in America, French Guyana, India, China and Russia.

Smith explained that the company has worked with all the big players. "I've been involved in more than 70 fuelling operations over the last 35 years. We are one of the only companies providing training on the big picture, from satellite delivery through to launch and all the hazardous operations in between."

We are winning far more contracts than in previous years which reflects our expertise in the field of space propulsion as well as the general growth in the space sector

Other business activities in March will see European Astrotech deploying fuelling teams to SpaceX in Cape Canaveral for the EnMAP environmental mapping and analysis programme launch campaign. The business will also be fuelling the remaining Galileo satellites up to and including 2025 while contracts are expected for the Euclid and Biomass satellites soon.

In July, the company is looking to fuel the SARah satellites at SpaceX, Vandenburg, California and in November it will be performing simulant loading and testing of the NAOS satellite at Interspace, Toulouse.

Finally, it is expected to fuel THEOS-2 in Kourou sometime in December of 2022.

Smith explained: "We are winning far more contracts than in previous years which reflects our expertise in the field of space propulsion as well as the general growth in the space sector."

Rod Mordey, Wescott Asset Manager, said: "We are delighted to be able to accommodate European Astrotech's ongoing growth by providing additional space at the Park. Our job is to support the innovative companies based at Westcott throughout their lifecycle."

"Westcott is a unique business park with a thriving ecosystem of space companies building upon the site's history in rocket motor propulsion. It is a secure site with an established regulatory and safety regime suitable for testing a wide variety of systems."

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Richard Harrington, CEO of Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "This investment opens up the next stage in the evolution of the Westcott site to attract new business and investment to this globally leading centre of excellence in space propulsion in the heart of Buckinghamshire."

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