Harwell Campus, in Oxfordshire, is home to the world famous Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) and the Satellite Applications Catapult (formerly the International Space Innovation Centre or 'ISIC'). The campus is maintained by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) as one of the Council’s UK facilities which also include Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus, Boulby Underground Laboratory, and the UK Astronomy Technology Centre at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh.
RAL Space is involved with over 200 space missions and is at the forefront of UK space research through facilities such as Chilbolton Observatory.
The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is home to several cutting edge UK research groups including the neutron beam experiment ISIS and the Central Laser Facility (CLF). RAL Space, the laboratory’s astronomy and space technology arm, is at the forefront of space research and testing from studying solar flares to putting instruments such as the James Webb Telescope’s MIRI through tests to ensure flight readiness.
The Satellite Applications Catapult has been established by the Technology Strategy Board to support UK industry and become a world-class centre for the development and commercial exploitation of space and satellite-based products, services and applications.
ISIC was a consortium of space industry organisations such as Astrium, Vega, and SSTL along with downstream technology companies such as Logica and universities, working together to develop innovative ideas and raise the profile of the UK space sector. Since spring 2013 ISIC has become the Satellite Applications Catapult.
The National Space Academy works with both RAL Space and Catapult by providing high quality student masterclasses and teacher training in collaboration with both organisations. The Academy turns both RAL Space and Catapult conference rooms into classrooms and invites their scientists and engineers to talk to young people and teachers.
The National Space Academy also works closely with the STFC Outreach and Education team at Harwell as part of their varied scheme of events.
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