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Northern Ireland could become centre of the European Space Agency programme, says minister

Published 10/12/2015

Aerojet propulsion technology in action
Aerojet propulsion technology in action

Northern Ireland has the potential to be a centre of excellence for the European space sector, the Enterprise Minister has said.

"There is a real opportunity to make Northern Ireland the focal point for space propulsion in Europe through participation in the European Space Agency Service Module programme," said Jonathan Bell.

He was speaking on Friday after a meeting with Castlereagh-based Aerojet Rocketdyne on developments and opportunities in the sector.

The US-owned company launched the European Space Propulsion firm in 2012, which designs and makes space thrust rocket motors in east Belfast.

Mr Bell said Invest NI is securing state-of-the-art facilities for the space sector: "Creating the right environment for the development of key skills and capabilities is crucial if we wish to take full advantage of the emerging developments in the industry.

"The UK government has set ambitious targets for the space sector, aiming to increase revenue generation by £10billion to £40billion by 2030. I want to ensure that Northern Ireland secures a significant proportion of this growth and this can only be achieved by building on the strengths and capabilities of our companies."

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