British astronaut Tim Peake to officially open Leicester’s Space Park

British astronaut Tim Peake is set to open Space Park Leicester at a ceremony next Spring.

Peake, the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station, will attend the opening of Leicester’s £100,000 space hub at an invitation-only ceremony on Monday, March 14, 2022.

The hub, developed by the University of Leicester in collaboration with a group of local, national, and international partners, aims to provide an international base for space scientists, researchers and business minds to work together from offices, shared laboratories, teaching facilities and working spaces.

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The keys were handed over for the Space Park by construction company, Bowmer & Kirkland, back in April – symbolising the end of the first phase of the project, which opened in the summer.

A number of organisations have already joined the Space Park’s scientists, including AST SpaceMobile, the developers of the first space-based cellular broadband network for mobile phones.

Other companies include Satellite Applications Catapult, a government-backed technology and innovation company, Space solutions specialists Northrup Grumman, air quality expert EarthSense, and Omnidea, an international space technology company.

The second phase of the development will provide state-of-the-art laboratories and workshops focussed on Artificial Intelligence and robot-assisted satellite production.

Professor Richard Ambrosi, Professor of Space Instrumentation and Space Nuclear Power Systems in the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that Tim Peake will join us at what will be a momentous celebration for Leicester, the East Midlands and the rest of the country.

“Being able to celebrate our magnificent facility and Leicester’s six decades of experience in space and Earth observation science, as well as one of the largest groupings of space-related researchers of any institution in the UK, together with Britain’s very own astronaut, will mark the start of something special.

Tim Peake is Britain's first astronaut to reach the International Space Station
Tim Peake is Britain’s first astronaut to reach the International Space Station

“We are incredibly grateful to all of our partners for recognising the leading research taking place at the University of Leicester. Their support will enable us to develop innovative technologies and methods to transform our understanding of space and our own planet in the future.”

Space Park Leicester aims to attract and grow space and space-enabled businesses, bringing jobs to the East Midlands and expanded opportunities to students and the wider community.

Following his mission to the International Space Centre, where he took part in more than 250 scientific experiments, Tim Peake is now an ambassador for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), and is passionate about inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers.

He said: “Teamwork and communication are vital skills for any successful space mission – two key themes that resonate with Space Park Leicester, developed to provide a unique offering of collaborative work between University researchers and the private sector, working side by side to develop technologies and processes to be used in space.

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“Space Park Leicester will highlight the exciting careers available within the space sector and help to train, educate and inspire our future generations.”

Space Park Leicester is being led by the University of Leicester in partnership with Leicester City Council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).

Phase one development at Space Park Leicester is supported by an £8.175m allocation from the Local Growth Fund, part of government funding awarded to the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) for projects that benefit the local area and economy.

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