The upcoming Space-Comm Expo will showcase technology, thought-leadership, debate, analysis, and business growth opportunities at the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre from July 7-8 2021.
The new, commercially-focused exhibition and conference is organised by Hub Exhibitions, in partnership with Farnborough International and supported by ADS, KTN, UK Space Agency, ESA and UKspace.
Space-Comm Expo will provide an opportunity for industry, academia and government to meet with a dedicated focus on exploring the commercial future of space for business, defence and aerospace. The event will be held in partnership with the key industry associations and will feature the manufacturing supply chain for products, services and solutions supplying commercial enterprises and developments in space.
Throughout the event the seminar programme, featuring leading industry and government speakers, will explore the sector’s biggest opportunities and challenges with keynote addresses including:
- Helen Sharman, CMG OBE First Briton in Space opening the show
- Will Whitehorn President of UKspace
- Dr Graham Turnock Chief Executive of UK Space Agency
- Elodie Viau Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications, European Space Agency
- Kevin Craven Interim CEO, ADS
The event will also focus on the design, production and manufacture of small satellites and satellite applications, with sessions exploring applications such as satellite navigation, earth observation and satellite communications.
The exhibition will include companies from across defence, aerospace and security. Leading countries in the space sector will also be represented within the International Pavilions.
Space-Comm Expo will feature business development opportunities for companies including:
- Meet the Buyer
- A dedicated Start-up Zone for businesses under three years old
- Private roundtables for pre-arranged meetings to find synergies and identify opportunities that boost investment returns.
FINN caught up with Hub Exhibitions MD Rob Sherwood and Group Event Director Christie Day to find out why now is the right time to introduce the UK’s first commercial space exhibition – and what’s in store for visitors:
Space-Comm Expo is a new event and exhibition, focused on the commercialisation of space with recent exciting commercial projects launched by companies including OneWeb and SpaceX. Can you explain why Space-Comm Expo is needed now?
RS: “We had all ingredients required for a successful B2B exhibition: we have a growth industry, contributing £15 billion to the UK economy with ambitious targets for government for future growth. And we see a huge trend in government relying more on private enterprise to achieve its objectives in space.”
“We also have specific challenges to the sector, with the UK’s departure from the EU, and added to this, you have an engaged association partner network, who are willing to support this venture such as UK Space Agency ADS, ESA, and UKspace, plus you have no annual trade exhibition.”
“I truly believe – and have seen many times – that a well organised annual b2b event exhibition greatly assists the growth of the sector and the enabling of new business.”
The event will be taking place at the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre. Did the venue’s heritage of bringing together the latest developments and insights from the aviation, aerospace and defence sectors influence the choice of venue?
RS: “The association with the venue is twofold. One, you’ve got a fantastic historical association with aerospace and expertise from Farnborough International in this sector. Secondly, you’ve got an incredible new venue which is state-of-the-art that has been developed to host exhibitions of all natures. So, when I was thinking of launching this event, Farnborough International, were the perfect partner to approach to start the joint venture, and they were very willing to listen to the proposal.”
Can you give an outline of the content and companies exhibiting at the event?
CD: “The three main areas of the event are business, defence and aerospace, we’ve had major interest from all of these areas. So, for the business sector, we have Leonardo and Telespazio confirmed as a sponsor, for defence, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and QinetiQ and within aerospace, we have Airbus and BAE Systems.”
What are the three biggest topics on the seminar agenda?
CD: “One of the biggest topics is UK launch sites – if you have the capability to launch into your own country, it will bring huge cost savings and prevent you from outsourcing to other countries. It’s a really great business growth area in the UK market.”
“The second topic is supporting commercial sustainability. The investment drives growth and growth really drives the sustainability. The third topic area that is really poignant is security. So the more data you have in space, the more data you will need to protect. Cyber security and physical security are going to be huge factors.”
… and what do you think are the three biggest challenges for companies working within the sector?
CD: “I would say one is accessibility. A lot of the smaller companies are really struggling to get the access into space, as they don’t have the same heritage as the primes, we’ve been hearing that a lot.” “Secondly, is the support from space agencies. NASA and ESA are leading the world in supporting new and existing companies in the space sector and the UK is doing well, but it really needs to accelerate growth of their support programmes to keep up with the level of NASA and ESA”
“And thirdly, I would say the launch capability is a legislation urgency. There’s lots of red tape, and there’s a race to get to space ports up and running so therefore there’s lots of competition with other countries, especially the Scandinavian countries.”
RS: “For a lot of businesses through the pandemic new business generation is a key challenge. Touch points for meeting new potential business partners have been removed and add Brexit onto that, obviously, with its export challenges.”
What part will Space-Comm Expo play in driving forward the strategic development of the sector?
RS: “We will ensure that we’re working closely with all our event partners as well as our joint venture partners to ensure seminar content is completely on point, it’s covering the hottest topics attracting the leading experts in the field. I think as organisers we provide the platform for business to take place, and we can see from the exhibitors involved in the event, both on a domestic and international level, that there’s a massive appetite for this exhibition, and it can really help with putting the UK space sector on the map and help it achieve its growth goals.”
“On an international level, we’ve got an Italian pavilion, a USA Pavilion and, if you read the exhibitors’ list, its a ‘Who’s Who’ of the sector. We’ve got incredible names that have stepped forward and, credit to them and the bravery they’ve shown through these difficult times to commit to a physical event – and put their trust in us to deliver that.”
CD: “Initially when we launched, Space-Comm Expo was going to be UK-centric, but that has grown and developed with demand and interest from international major players. I think this is really going to be the number one space event for the UK, moving forward.”
And finally…Space is a huge sector with limitless potential, can you pinpoint the one single session or aspect of Space-Comm Expo that you are most looking forward to?
RS: “As an organiser, I love the first morning, the nerves, seeing the visitors turn up, seeing busy aisles and business interaction on the stands. It makes all the hard work worth it, and the efforts that we’ve put in through the pandemic. We launched the event in March (2020) just as the country went into lockdown and its a testament to our team here at Hub and Farnborough International because we were all working remotely also with joint venture partners and has been an incredible effort to pull this off. I’d just like to thank both teams for all their hard work and application because they’ve achieved something amazing here.”
CD: “I really want to understand how the government will demonstrate how to facilitate their ambitious growth plans to grow the sector to 10 per cent by 2030 – that’s what I’m looking forward to learning more about.”
Interview originally published via FINN on 20 May 2021.