Northern Ireland has the potential to be a centre of excellence for the European space sector, Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell has said.
The Minister was speaking after receiving an update from representatives from Castlereagh-based Aerojet Rocketdyne on developments and opportunities in the sector.
Jonathan Bell MLA said: “Aerojet Rocketdyne (Aerojet) since being established in 1942 has led the way in the development of crucial technology and products to further space exploration. The arrival of Aerojet and their UK Company European Space Propulsion Ltd (ESP) here has brought significant benefits to Northern Ireland. Both I and ESP believe there is a real opportunity to make Northern Ireland the focal point for space propulsion in Europe through participation in the European Space Agency Service Module programme.
“My department, through Invest Northern Ireland, is fully committed to securing state-of-the-art facilities for the space sector here. Creating the right environment for the development of key skills and capabilities is crucial if we wish to take full advantage of the emerging developments in the industry. The UK government has set ambitious targets for the space sector, aiming to increase revenue generation by £10billion to £40billion by 2030. I want to ensure that Northern Ireland secures a significant proportion of this growth and this can only be achieved by building on the strengths and capabilities of our companies.
“The Northern Ireland Partnering for Growth Strategy, launched in 2014, has set the direction for our space sector to ensure we stay ahead of the competition in this high-value sector. Having previously met with Aerojet Rocketdyne in Belfast and at the Paris Air show in July 2015, I welcome the opportunity to discuss further how we can support and grow the ESP operations as a key component of the emerging Northern Ireland Space Sector.”