The UK space sector is currently worth £14.8bn, a figure which is expected to rise to £40bn by 2030 and create 30,000 skilled jobs.

With this huge potential for growth in mind, an event was held in March 2019 at Teledyne e2v – Space Imaging Centre of Excellence, held between Teledyne e2v, UKSpace, Innovate UK and SPRINT. The event was primarily focused on the opportunities for SMEs within the space industry.

In December 2019, the UK Space Agency announced that £374m per year would be invested into European Space Agency programmes over the next 5 years, totalling approximately £2bn.

While mankind’s footprint has long since left behind its mark behind on the moon’s arid lunar landscape, Essex’s very-own Teledyne e2v is now at the forefront of 21st century space exploration, and is carrying the torch for Essex by illuminating the far corners of the solar system – half a century after the first moon landing.

PLATO Satellite two spacecraft concept.

Playing a crucial role in global space missions

US-owned Teledyne e2v is a world leader in the design and manufacture of CCD and CMOS imaging sensors for space missions. They have been involved in over 150 space projects in conjunction with the world’s largest space agencies, including NASA, European Space Agency, The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, China National Space Administration and for the Russian-led World Space Observatory.

Teledyne e2v have a track record of producing innovative technologies and products, such as critical components of radiotherapy machines and space-based sensors that monitor global warming and pollution, all of which subsequently contributes to the county’s growing status as a leading location for technology.

Based in Chelmsford for over 70 years, Teledyne e2v’s Chelmsford facility is Teledyne’s largest location outside of North America.

Image sensors on NASA

From Essex to the stars

In recent years, Teledyne e2v have been involved in projects such as the New Horizons mission, during which the first high resolution images of Pluto were captured, as well as images of the furthest visit to an object in the solar system, Ultima Thule. Teledyne e2v’s detectors have been used on missions to Mars and on the Mars Curiosity Rover, as well as missions to other planets including Venus and Jupiter. Teledyne detectors have also been used in missions to planets such as Venus and Jupiter.

The New Horizons mission was launched in January 2006 to examine Pluto, its moon Charon and other ice worlds at the edge of the solar system. In 2015, Teledyne e2v’s image sensors captured the first ever close-up image of dwarf planet, Pluto.

One prominent example of a recent high-profile Teledyne e2v initiative in space is PLATO (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars), a planet hunting spacecraft that will seek out and research Earth-like exoplanets around stars similar to our own Sun. About 100 Teledyne e2v large area ‘Charged Couple Devices’ (CCD) will allow the mission to detect small changes in the apparent brightness of stars orbited by planets.

Another major project is Gaia – an ambitious mission to chart a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way in an attempt to process and reveal its composition, formation and evolution. As with PLATO, all of the Gaia CCD image sensors will be designed and produced in the UK at Teledyne e2v’s Chelmsford facility.

Teledyne e2v has also contributed to the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Mission, which successfully landed a probe onto comet 67P in November 2014. Here, Teledyne e2v provided high performance image sensors produced at its Chelmsford (UK) and Grenoble (France) facilities to equip instruments on the mission.

The Teledyne Chelmsford facility is also leading globally in the innovative field of quantum technologies.

The British Science Festival and Essex 2020

In September 2020 the British Science Festival will be held in Essex for the first time in its 189 year history. The Chelmsford Science and Engineering Society, in conjunction with Anglia Ruskin University, successfully bid for what is Europe’s longest science programme.

Inspired by the prestigious British Science Festival, Essex will also host ‘Essex 2020’, a year-long, county-wide celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) in the county.

In November 2019 nearly 100 creative, tech and science companies came together to discover how to get involved in the UK’s biggest ever celebration of STEAM at the Essex 2020 business launchpad event, held at Hylands House, Chelmsford.

Businesses and networks including Teledyne e2v, Google, British Science Association and Tech East attended the event where they heard first-hand about opportunities for partnerships and investments to boost innovation and STEAM skills in the region.

Click the link for more info on Essex 2020: https://www.essex2020.com

To find out more about the British Science Festival 2020 click here.

For more information about Teledyne e2v, click here.