Media centre

Mace welcomes Astronaut Tim Peake and Mars Rover to the National Satellite Test Facility

Mace’s public sector construction team together with the client, the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s RAL Space, were joined by Tim Peake - the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station - the UK Science Minster Amanda Solloway - and the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) at the National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF) in Oxfordshire.

The NSTF is located at the heart of the space cluster at Harwell Campus and once complete will help get spacecraft ready for take-off and the harsh conditions of space. The facility is the first of this scale in the UK and will further cement the UK’s position as a world-leader in space technologies for decades to come.

Tim Peake and the Minister were at the NSTF to launch the UK Space Agency’s Inspired by Tim campaign to discover the people who were motivated into a career in space by his Principia mission five years ago. The NSTF will create more than 35 jobs and support UK space businesses which rely on skilled scientists, engineers and technologists.

The group were also joined by ‘Bruno’, a Mars rover prototype, developed by Airbus Defence and Space for the ESA’s ExoMars mission due for launch in 2022. The rover that will fly to Mars is named Rosalind Franklin who was a UK scientist, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA and is also the namesake of the neighbouring Rosalind Franklin Institute, which is also being delivered by Mace.

Harwell is one of the leading science and innovation campuses in Europe, bringing together the world’s brightest minds in state of the art facilities to solve today’s global challenges. The campus is home to over 6000 people, £2bn of national labs, across 60 nationalities and 225 organisations.

Mace was appointed by the Southern Construction Framework in November 2017 to deliver three ground-breaking science and technology buildings -the Rosalind Franklin Institute, the National Satellite Test Facility and the Extreme Photonics Applications Centre - with a total construction value of more than £133.5m.

Terry Spraggett, Managing Director of Public Sector Construction at Mace, said: 

“I am honoured that Mace has been trusted to build this exciting new satellite test facility to support the UK space community and secure the UK’s position as a global leader in space exploration. The team is doing an outstanding job on a very challenging and rewarding project and we can’t wait to see the first satellite in orbit.’’



Contact us

  • Mace Media Line

    +44 20 3824 3600
Mace Construction Team Briefing - Mace Group
Mace People, NSTF and Tim Peake - Mace Group