Posted on Thursday 10 December 2015 by Ulster Business

Castlereagh we have a problem

Jim Simpson, Senior Vice President for Strategy & Business Development at Aerojet Rocketdyne, is pictured with Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell and other representatives from the company.

Northern Ireland has the potential to become the space propulsion capital of Europe, Enterprise Minister Jonathan Bell has said.

He said Invest NI is committed to securing state-of-the-art facilities and top class skills for the space sector here to grow what has up to now been a fledgling industry.

Mr Bell pointed to the collective UK target to increase revenue generation from the industry to £40bn by 2030 from £10bn currently and said he wanted to secure a significant proportion much more space business for Northern Ireland.

“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,” he said.

Those companies include Aeroject Rocketdyne which is part of European Space Propulsion (ESP) which has a Belfast base in Castlereagh.

“The arrival of Aerojet and their UK Company here has brought significant benefits to Northern Ireland,” he said. “Both I and ESP believe 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.”

“The Northern Ireland Partnering for Growth Strategy, launched in 2014, has set the direction for our space sector to ensure we stay ahead of the competition in this high-value sector. Having previously met with Aerojet Rocketdyne in Belfast and at the Paris Air show in July 2015, I welcome the opportunity to discuss further how we can support and grow the ESP operations as a key component of the emerging Northern Ireland Space Sector.”

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