A consortium of Yorkshire organisations are uniting to develop an emerging Local Space Agency which, it says, will boost the local economy.
The project will see the University, Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and other partners work together to further develop the Hub across West Yorkshire.
It aims to identify existing industry strengths while unearthing challenges and knowledge gaps to develop a strong and sustainable space hub in these West Yorkshire regions over the next five to ten years.
The six-month programme is being supported by £80,000 in funding from the UK Space Agency (UKSA).
Dr Anna Hogg, University Academic Fellow and Earth observation expert at Leeds’ School of Earth and Environment, said space activity such as examining satellite data was essential for monitoring the Earth’s climate.
“This enables us to measure pollutants in the air we breathe, the health of forests and crops, and the speed of colossal glaciers on the Antarctic Ice Sheet that cause sea levels to rise,” she said.
“This work will be of great benefit to the local, national, and international Space community for years to come.
“As a scientist, it’s my job to discover something new about how the world works every day. I can’t think of a more meaningful or exciting career to pursue.”
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “The UK’s space sector has shown incredible resilience to the coronavirus pandemic and will continue to play a key role in our recovery – from creating high quality jobs to finding unique ways to support our NHS.
“This funding will arm local leaders up and down the UK with the tools they need to put their local areas at the front of the commercial space race, while refuelling the tank of the UK economy and helping Britain realise its ambitions as a global space superpower.”
Research carried out in 2015 by LEP identified around 8,500 businesses in the Leeds City Region that offered digital or technology-related services and employed about 70,000 people.
If harnessed as part of a Local Space Hub, these businesses have the potential to set the Leeds City Region apart from other areas both in the UK and globally.