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Plastron Training project designs new product development support ecosystem for the NewSpace industry

NEWS: Collaboration with University of Southampton, supported by SPRINT

Will support new space hardware products to get to market by streamlining the European Cooperation for Space Standardisation (ECSS) compliance process

Plastron Training, a start-up based at Harwell Technology Park, Didcot, is working with experts from the University of Southampton on developing new flight hardware products qualification decision support system for the UK space industry, as part of the Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology (SPRINT) business support programme.

Plastron Training operates the Space industry Centre For Excellence (SiC4E); established in 2021 with the ambition to support high-quality growth for the NewSpace sector by focusing on safety and quality. This project will provide key analytical tools which will be incorporated into a new business proposition for Plastron Training Ltd to deploy in the NewSpace supply-chain, the Product Development Support Platform. The project will support new space hardware products to get to market by streamlining the European Cooperation for Space Standardisation (ECSS) compliance process.

This will help hardware suppliers to identify where they should focus their efforts to ensure compliance can be achieved, as well as promote awareness of ECSS and motivate new entrants to take steps to qualify their new products to the correct standard for upstream space applications.

The project generated user-defined analytical tool prototypes which will become key to the functionality of the platform. This resulted in the project being accepted into the ESA Business Incubation programme at Harwell, where a multi-disciplinary team has spent the summer working on the platform design. The project also benefits from the technical support of the UK Space Agency and its collaboration with ECSS in the Netherlands.

The project with the University of Southampton was funded by the £7.5 million SPRINT programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

Charlie Young, Founder of Plastron Training said: “The space sector is undergoing massive transformation, which results in unpredictable behaviour. We believe that space standards compliance will directly contribute to a vibrant and resilient SME sector as well as fundamentally contribute towards mitigating further generation of space debris, which is recognised as a major threat globally. And by applying contemporary, digital engineering practices to space, skills will increase and product R&D can become more cost-efficient.

‘By creating symbiotic relationships with experts such as the University of Southampton, we can integrate with industry, academic experts and their test facilities. This will mitigate the risk for potential investors in space.”

Dr Mario Brito, Professor of Risk Analysis and Risk Management at the University of Southampton added: “We brought our research expertise to the Plastron Training project to help the company to generate an expert consensus for developing and proposing new standards for New Space.”

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