Cornwall’s space cluster on show at SPACE-COMM EXPO

Posted on 5 July, 2021 by Advance 

From deep space communication and equipment testing for beyond earth orbit missions, to the innovative application and democratisation of satellite data - key players from Cornwall’s Space cluster are representing the breadth of the industry at this year's SPACE-COMM EXPO at the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre, Farnborough, UK from 7-8 July 2021.

Image courtesy Cornwall Space

The UK’s first event dedicated to the commercialisation of space, SPACE-COMM EXPO is a journey through the supply chain of products, components, solutions and services that supply the space industry - showcasing the commercial opportunities within the industry that is worth £16.4 billion to the UK economy.

As we head into the era of new space, Cornwall has already proved itself as a key player in the future of the UK's industry. Home to the World’s most capable ground station, the UK’s first dedicated horizontal satellite launch site and a wealth of businesses disrupting and innovating the supply chain and associated services, Space-Comm will be an opportunity to further highlight the world-leading potential of the region’s sector.

The event will host the first public panel discussion between four of the seven potential UK spaceports, which will feature Head of Spaceport Cornwall, Melissa Thorpe. Following the recent success of partner Virgin Orbit’s Tubular Bells Mission in California, Melissa will be sharing the progress of Spaceport Cornwall and discussing the positive economic impact of the Spaceport as development ramps up ahead of the first launch in 2022.

Integral to Cornwall’s and the UK’s launch ambitions, Goonhilly Earth Station will also be in attendance. Goonhilly’s world-leading capabilities in communications, AI and data processing are intrinsic to the rapid development of associated industries and technologies within Cornwall’s space cluster.

Goonhilly recently became the world’s first commercial deep space communications operator working closely with the European Space Agency helping to command and downlink data from missions such as Mars Express. They also announced their new long-term agreement with Intuitive Machines, experts in advanced manufacturing, propulsion, automated systems and agile software, which will see them support every stage of IM’s upcoming missions to the Moon (including the 2022 IM-1 mission). The support will range from launch and early operations, through transit, and including lunar operations - cementing the UK’s role in the next phase of lunar exploration.

Also providing services to the rapidly growing commercial space sector, Exobotics use the latest advancements in robotics, materials, structures and artificial intelligence to enable low-cost space flight for missions to the Moon and beyond. Their long term goal is reducing cost and scale required to explore space, making beyond earth missions as accessible to companies as Lower Earth Orbit. The company will be launching their latest product, built to revolutionise the testing process of components, subsystems and satellites.  

As we continue advanced exploration, gaining access to an ever richer tapestry of data and knowledge, the enhancement of deep learning through AI is intrinsically linked to the rise in commercial space and satellite activity.  

Representing the vast reach of the space industry and its mutually beneficial relationship with associated services, Bluefruit Software will be showcasing their innovative new AI offering. Their Audio Classifier Equipment (ACE) makes it possible to ‘listen’ to machines – diagnosing internal faults through sound recognition using real-time AI solutions. Now, they’re taking what they learned from ACE and applying it to other data sources, not just sound. Of interest is the development of Bluefruit’s sensorless-AI patent. With sensorless-AI, the states of motors and generators are inferred without additional sensors using the data typically generated by the existing software running these machines - offering huge potential to the space sector supply chain.

Further highlighting the benefits of increased data access through the new era of space, experts in cloud strategy and digital transformation, Cloud Digital are on a mission to unlock the complex web of space data for business benefit.

They have begun to build their Earth Vision platform, the focal point of their attendance, with the help of Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd as their strategic partner. Cloud Digital intends to integrate the rich web of space data harvested from satellites into mainstream software offerings. As an accredited partner of Google, they will also further leverage their big data and Artificial Intelligence capabilities to manage complex space data structures.

TouchByte will be showcasing their facial recognition solution – Facentry. Developed with funding from Innovate UK, the Contactless Access Control system opens up the opportunity for the space and aerospace sectors to add additional layers of security to their locations - like ground operation stations. Facentry uses your face to access a location, building or room, replacing unsafe fingerprints and keypads and a solution that meets the needs of a post Covid-19 world.

Gail Eastaugh, Director, AeroSpace Cornwall: “Space-Comm represents an opportunity for us to showcase the breadth of Cornwall’s space cluster. When many people think of the industry they focus on launch - we’re thrilled to not only be showcasing Cornwall’s launch capabilities but also highlighting the associated supply chain activity and innovation happening within the sector.”

Melissa Thorpe, Head of Spaceport Cornwall: “It's great to have the strength of the UK’s space industry back together in a physical place. This is a key event and it's wonderful to see the innovation of Cornwall’s space cluster represented - leading the way towards launch from UK soil at Spaceport Cornwall in 2022.”

AeroSpace Cornwall is a programme that promotes research, development and innovation. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Cornwall Council and delivered by Cornwall Development Company (CDC), an arms-length economic development provision of Cornwall Council and part of the Corserv Limited group of companies. They offer technical and commercial support for businesses across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly who are developing new products, services and technologies which could add value to space and aerospace sectors.

The programme, which runs from December 2019 to December 2022, will support at least 60 businesses through grants and specialist business support whilst leveraging £1,375,639 of match funding from the private sector.