Rolls-Royce team moves into Space Park Leicester to work on nuclear powered space travel

By Tom Pegden,
Published by Business Live, 12 January 2022

Rolls-Royce has moved a team onto Space Park Leicester to push forward its work on nuclear power for space travel.

The engineering giant has taken space in the new £100 million facility which was launched as a breeding ground for out-of-this-world tech by bringing together industry and academia.

Dr Gary Jones, Abi Clayton and Professor Richard Ambrosi, Leicester Space Park
Dr Gary Jones, Abi Clayton and Professor Richard Ambrosi, Leicester Space Park

Rolls-Royce is reported to be the only UK company focussing on the line of work and staff with a pedigree in nuclear power will collaborate with new space park head Professor Richard Ambrosi, Professor of Space Instrumentation and Space Nuclear Power Systems at University of Leicester and other experts in space science.

Last January, Rolls-Royce signed a contract with the UK Space Agency to study future nuclear power options for space exploration.

Abi Clayton, director for future programmes at Rolls-Royce, which is headquartered in Derby, said: “Having the opportunity to have a presence at Space Park Leicester allows us to be close to the action.

“It’s also incredibly inspiring to work among scientists from the University of Leicester and representatives from space-related companies.

“Our innovative integrated electric power and thermal management solutions will work alongside our novel nuclear technologies, digital capabilities and engineering excellence to realise our customers’ ambitions for exploratory space missions to become a reality.”

Gary Jones, head of manufacturing innovation at Rolls-Royce, said: “Our presence at Space Park Leicester is a really good opportunity for our people that are specifically working on the Space Programme to immerse themselves in all things space.

“Rolls-Royce is the UK’s nuclear thought leader and what we bring is unique.

“The expertise and just sheer innovation and brain power of some of our people is incredible and it’s tremendously exciting to surround ourselves with like-minded people.”

Space Park Leicester is being led by The University of Leicester in partnership with Leicester City Council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership.

Professor Ambrosi, executive director of Space Park Leicester, said: “The presence of Rolls-Royce at Space Park Leicester and their work in leading the development of space reactor systems will enable Leicester researchers to collaborate with Rolls-Royce on a range of space mission concepts and technology solutions that will transform access to space for scientific and human exploration endeavours.

“We welcome the opportunity to grow our portfolio of research in space nuclear power technologies, built on our heritage in radioisotope power systems.”

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