Call for government support to help NI's burgeoning space sector compete on global stage

Tom Mallon, managing director of Resonate Testing in Newry. The firm recently worked on the James Webb telescope, the most powerful and complex telescope ever built.

MORE government support is needed to enable Northern Ireland’s burgeoning space sector to compete on a global stage, it has been claimed.

Tom Mallon, who heads Resonate Testing in Newry, said the progress made to date in the sector is at risk, if more support is not forthcoming.

The company, which is part of The Nacelle Group, is one of the leading commercial test houses on the Island of Ireland.

Resonate Testing recently carried out tests on equipment that will be used as part of the launch for the upcoming James Webb telescope; described as the largest, most powerful and complex telescope ever built, which will be launched into space on December 18 2021.

Mr Mallon’s comments came ahead of the All Ireland Space Industry Day, hosted by the Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space (ADS) Group, which takes place at Armagh City Hotel today (Thursday).

The cluster of companies in the north has formed the Northern Ireland Space Strategy and the Northern Ireland Space Special Interest Group (NISSIG).

But to get to the next level, they say more support is needed for those companies that operate within the sector.

“The Space Sector offers so much potential to many SMEs in Northern Ireland, but if we don’t act now, we are going to miss out. The good work that has been achieved will disappear. Political figures and business leaders need to approach this from a ‘levelling up’ agenda. When we look at spend here in Northern Ireland, we are not seeing the opportunities that mainland UK see. If our political leaders don’t support us, we are going to miss out.

“We are now competing on an international and global level. We need to be able to find the right staff and train them to the level required so Northern Ireland can pursue its vision of becoming a globally recognised region for space sector innovation and creativity. This will allow us to exploit further opportunities in the future.”

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