Space the key as hi-tech business touches down at Westcott

15/11/22 | Sector/Industry News, Tenant News

One of the world’s leading companies in the delivery of complex equipment and instrumentation for Space and large scientific facilities has arrived at Westcott Venture Park.

AVS UK  is currently based at the Westcott Innovation Centre for the next two years, while the new facility is developed and the company is already set to double its workforce.

Emily Dingle, UK Chief Operating Officer at AVS said: “We've come to Westcott because of the amount of space it offers, while still being a strategic location for us, with many customers and partners within the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.”

“The combination of workshops and office space really suits us while there is room for future growth over the next three to five years.”

AVS UK is a subsidiary of the Spanish AVS group, with several sites and facilities in Spain, and a large facility in Ithaca, NY (USA). AVS is a EN9100 certified supplier of:

  • Complex instrumentation for Big Scientific facilities (e.g. with more than 100 instruments across the different sites of UKRI / STFC).
  • Robotics, Mechatronics, In-orbit services, Thermal systems, and Advanced Small Satellites for the Space industry (e.g. with two instruments in operation onboard the Perseverance rover in Mars).

Once a concept has been devised AVS takes the product through the full engineering process up to commissioning, including manufacturing and final testing.

It is involved in cutting edge projects such as the ISRU Demonstration Mission (ISRU-DM). A programme which aims to develop the ability to generate products with local materials in space, for example using moon rock to extract oxygen, thereby avoiding the need to transfer it from Earth.

Emily added: “Being part of the next series of moon missions is fantastically exciting for a small company based in Westcott.  The technologies we offer are vital to the European Space Agency (ESA) programme as we look to explore further into our universe. 

AVS UK is also a partner on the Virgin Orbit project which provides launch services for small satellites. Building the Transportable Ground Operating System (TGOS) is crucial infrastructure that will deliver the fuel and oxidizer to Cosmic Girl which will have its first ever UK launch from Spaceport Cornwall later this year.    

“Both of these projects are UK-driven, Virgin Obit was supported by the UK Space Agency and the ISRU project was funded by the European Space Agency, so we are proud of the fact that these are UK-led propositions.”

Nigel MacKenzie, Development Manager at Westcott said: “We warmly welcome AVS to our ever-growing family of rocket companies within the Westcott Space Cluster and Enterprise Zone and are working closely with AVS in the creation of its own facility at the Park.”

AVS UK has recently welcomed five new apprentices comprising three level 6-degree apprentices in mechanical engineering working on all of our projects, including the moon mission, and two level 3 (A’ level equivalent) apprentices, covering finance and IT and software.

URA Thrusters, the propulsion spin-out company from AVS, also moved to Westcott, specialising in the use of water as fuel for rocket propulsion in space. As a result, the two companies can efficiently share resources and facilities.

Emily said: “We look forward to seeing the development of Westcott over the coming years including improved transport and catering facilities as more and more companies choose to base themselves here at this exciting location.”

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