Manufacturing partnership

Glasgow researchers team up with Airbus on space project

Jill Miscandlon: advising on manufacturing

Technicians at Strathclyde University are making a breakthrough into the space sector in a partnership with aviation giant Airbus.

The university’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) is working with Airbus Defence and Space and TWI to bring the manufacture of fuel tanks back to the UK in a two-year collaboration funded by the European Space Agency.

Formerly produced in the UK, Airbus DS currently buys its fuel tanks from Germany or the US. Key to the project is bringing production back to the UK, benefiting the wider supply chain. 

The AFRC is one of many organisations tapping into Scotland’s growing space sector as it has recently been revealed that more small satellites are built in Glasgow than anywhere else in Europe, while the UK’s first ever spaceport is set to be built in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands.

Dr Jill Miscandlon, heading up the project at the AFRC, said: “Airbus DS is at the forefront of the industry and this collaboration sees us looking at the components needed to make the propellant tanks and advising on potential manufacturing methods.”

Professor Keith Ridgway, executive chairman of the AFRC, said: “This is a great project that highlights the benefits of aligning advanced manufacturing research with the UK’s growing space industry.

“It also taps into the University of Strathclyde’s focus on innovation in space, which is being developed through its Technology and Innovation Centre within the Glasgow City Innovation District, bringing together researchers and high-growth firms with technology and creative start-ups, to work side-by-side.”

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