Testing centre for 'more sustainable' rockets opens in Westcott

Testing centre for 'more sustainable' rockets opens in Westcott

BBC·2021-06-18 06:01

image copyrightUK Space Agencyimage captionThe National Space Propulsion Test Facility in Aylesbury will enable the testing of larger rocketsA rocket testing facility which will work on "more sustainable" propellants has been officially opened by the minister for science.Amanda Solloway unveiled the National Space Propulsion Test Facility (NSPTF) in Westcott, Buckinghamshire.The centre will test what it says are more sustainable propellants - such as hydrogen peroxide and liquid oxygen.Ms Solloway said the "pioneering facility" would support "ambitious space businesses" and create jobs.image copyrightUK Space Agencyimage captionScience Minister Amanda Solloway opened the siteThe centre, which is based at the Westcott Space Cluster in Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone, will be used to test the engines that position orbiting spacecraft in conditions similar to those in space.The UK Space Agency said hydrogen peroxide and liquid oxygen were "more environmentally friendly in sourcing, storage and combustion" than alternatives.The centre will also enable UK companies and academic to test engines at a "more affordable rate", the agency said.Previously only "extremely small" engines could be tested in the UK which meant companies would have to travel abroad for larger testing facilities.image copyrightUK Space Agencyimage captionThe site will also "drive forward the significant commercial telecommunications satellite market", the UK Space Agency saidThe NSPTF received £4m in funding from the agency and will create about 60 jobs.Ms Solloway said: "We are investing in our brightest space scientists, the facilities they work in and the technologies they are creating."This pioneering facility will support our ambitious space businesses, enabling them to undertake complex spacecraft engine testing, while boosting the local economy by creating highly skilled jobs." Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email eastofenglandnews@bbc.co.ukThe BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

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