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2019 at the ESA BIC UK

Sue O’Hare, European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre Operations Manager at STFC, reflects back on a wonderful and busy year at the ESA BIC UK.

This year the ESA BIC UK has welcomed 12 new incubatees across three of the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) locations in Harwell, Daresbury and Edinburgh. Our 2019 incubatees are a testament to the far-reaching applications of space technologies, spanning a breadth of sectors including agritech, environment, transport, satellite launch services and more.

At Harwell we welcomed:

  • Agrilenz – combining Earth Observation data, farm measurements and environmental data to help livestock farmers and environmental policy managers make better decisions.
  • Lanterne – helping individuals and organisations in conflict zones to navigate safely using open source information and high-resolution satellite images.
  • LIFT ME OFF – providing full-service and sustainable access to space with its satellite propulsion technology and autonomous vision systems.
  • Lumi Space – using lasers to send power to satellite solar panels in low earth orbit.
  • Moses Mobility – a marketplace for shared taxi rides enabling travellers travelling in the same way to find each other and share the cost of a taxi.
  • Orbital Astronautics – enabling flight formation capabilities, inter-satellites communications and autonomous flock operations with its small plug-in module for satellites.
  • Oxford Earth Observation (OxEO) – delivering environmental insight through earth observation to predict how areas of interest to clients may change in the future.
  • Smart Green Shipping – designing renewable energy propulsion solutions with plans to launch 100% renewable fuel-autonomous ships.
  • StressMap – developing a new adaptive robotic system capable of automatically mapping surface stresses across complex manufactured components.

Daresbury Laboratory, in the North West of England, welcomed its very first incubatee:

  • Nantrack – using satellite communications to track, locate and disable vehicles without relying on mobile networks.

And at the Higgs Centre for Innovation in Edinburgh we welcomed two more incubatees:

  • Crover – developing a robot that will monitor grain to reduce loses and maintain optimum storage conditions.
  • Responsive Access – simplifying access to space for CubeSats through the integration of launch services enabled by its proprietary software.

With a well-established ESA BIC community at Harwell, it has been fantastic to see momentum building in both Edinburgh and Daresbury throughout 2019, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the team and the growing space communities in these locations.

This year both the ESA BIC UK and its incubatees have had many successful moments to be proud of.

In June the ESA BIC UK companies reached a huge milestone – collectively raising £55 million in equity investment. This milestone was reached due to some alumni companies gaining large investments at the start of 2019, including £1 million for Adaptix’s portable 3D medical x-ray machine for early cancer detection, and a £1.5 million investment for The Electrospinning Company to support the development of electro-spun nanofibre membranes that can help the body repair and regenerate its own tissues.

Now at the end of the year, this collective investment has risen to almost £60 million, with more in the pipeline.

In April Lacuna Space launched its first satellite from India, as the first step in its plan to provide complete global satellite connectivity for LoRa® Internet of Things devices.

In July B2Space successfully launched its research balloon for delivering small satellites from the Shetland Space Centre in Scotland, receiving wide press attention including from the BBC.

In August Rescon Technologies announced its acquisition by OneMedicalGroup, in the ESA BIC UK’s third exit, in order to accelerate the spread and scaling up of its mission to help people lead healthier lives.

In September, the arrival of Smart Green Shipping Alliance to the ESA BIC UK was celebrated in the trade press during London International Shipping Week.

Also in September, the ESA BIC UK attended the UK Space Conference alongside ESA Business Application Space Solutions and STFC colleagues.

With a full and vibrant ESA BIC UK I’m sure we have many more successes to look forward in 2020! If you’d like to find out whether the ESA BIC UK could rocket your start-up to success, please do get in touch at or find out more at our website and Twitter below.

About the ESA BIC UK

With three business incubation sites at Harwell, Daresbury and Edinburgh, the ESA BIC UK is part of a growing network of successful ESA BICs across Europe.

Companies selected for incubation in the ESA BIC UK benefit from access to STFC’s expertise and technical facilities, dedicated business support, connections to our partners and networks, and £41,500 funding to accelerate progress towards market.

Further information about the ESA BIC UK and how it can benefit your company can be found at the ESA BIC UK website, and more success stories here.

Follow ESA BIC UK on Twitter @ESABICUK.

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