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European Space Agency expands at Oxfordshire’s Harwell Campus

A state-of-the-art conference centre that will support the thriving UK space industry has opened at Harwell Campus in Oxfordshire – the UK’s space gateway.
ESA’s new facility sits alongside their European satellite and space telecommunications centre (ECSAT) at Harwell and provides cutting-edge, adaptable meeting facilities, a conference hall for 300 people, meeting rooms as well as breakout areas, exhibition space and dedicated rooms for interpreters.

The centre, named after ESA’s former director of telecommunications activities and head of ECSAT, Magali Vaissiere, further aids collaboration between the campus’ life sciences, quantum, energy and space clusters, and will serve as a rallying point for the UK space community, reinforcing existing ties and fostering new partnerships within Europe and beyond.

Josef Aschbacher, Director General of ESA, said: “The brand new facilities add to ESA’s growing footprint in Oxfordshire, and exemplify our excellent cooperation with the UK, as we work together to advance Europe’s ambitions in space. Magali has built up ECSAT to a modern centre that combines space technology and business. This conference centre deserved to be named after her.”

Stuart Grant, Chief Executive of Harwell Campus, added: “ESA’s new state-of-the-art conference centre and event space is an exciting and welcome addition to the campus. As a leading science campus known for world-leading breakthroughs, the centre further bolsters the campus’ ability to bring together scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors from across the globe, forging new partnerships and propelling advancements across Space, Quantum, Life Sciences and Energy sectors.”

Paul Britton, Chief Executive of Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, commented: “Taking into consideration the attractiveness of the world-class science campus at Harwell, it comes with little surprise that existing companies, such as the European Space Agency, are deciding to expand and strengthen their footprint. The campus presents a hub which continually attracts and brings together global, leading companies within the space sector and beyond it, and we are delighted to see this continued commitment to the region.”

Harwell Campus is a key enabler of the booming UK space industry, and the conference centre adds to ESA’s existing contributions to this rapidly expanding community of over 100 commercial, public and academic space enterprises. Over the next two years Harwell will build an additional 500,000 sq. ft of new laboratory and R&D buildings across the campus. This will include Tech Foundry, 220,000 sq. ft of Advanced Manufacturing space and the Linear Accelerator Building, L.A.B., a landmark laboratory building for starting and scaling science organisations, alongside a number of further improvements across the campus.

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