Space industry gets Surrey Research Park business base

A business centre to support the UK's space industry is being opened in Surrey later this week.

The International Space Innovation Centre will be opened by Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, director of the Surrey Space Centre at Surrey university.

The new centre at Surrey Research Park in Guildford will provide facilities and support for firms in the industry.

A university spokeswoman said the space industry was one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK's economy.

Businesses in the South East are said to account for about 75% of the UK space industry's turnover, she added.

The official opening is due to take place on Friday.

Phone in space

Sir Martin is also the chief executive officer of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), which is already based at the park and is the commercial wing of the university operation.

In January, engineers at SSTL and the Surrey Space Centre unveiled plans to put a mobile phone in space later this year.

The team wants to find out if smart phones can be used to operate satellites.

Lead researcher Dr Chris Bridges said if a smart phone could be proved to work in space it could open up new technologies.

He described the project as "a real game-changer for the industry".

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