Space tech spin-out is business of the year

Space technology company STAR-Dundee has been hailed “a role model spin-out” after the firm took a major prize at the Scottish Chambers of Commerce’s inaugural awards.

Academic-entrepreneur Professor Steve Parkes, Director Space Technology Centre at the University of Dundee, created the company in 2002.

Its products – including spacecraft onboard data-handling network technology – are now used by space agencies across the world, including NASA, the European Space Agency and JAXA, the Japan Aerospace eXploration Agency.

The company, which employs 18 people at its headquarters on Perth Road, Dundee, won Business of the Year (fewer than 25 employees) at the glittering Scottish Business Honours 2014 ceremony in Edinburgh.

The prize is the latest achievement in what has been a steady rise for the company.

John MacKenzie, Head of Knowledge Exchange at the University, said, “Steve and the company have long been a role model for us in the commercialisation of research at the University but now they’ve moved beyond that peer group. They are a role model and inspiration for businesses across the country, delivering growth and employment.

“It’s quite literally rocket science, but the success hasn’t come overnight. They have built the company up piece by piece over the last 12 years and are now enjoying the fruits of that hard work. Everyone benefits. The university has equity in the company, it provides employment for graduates, and Steve and his team are still heavily involved in space technology research.”

STAR-Dundee spent two years in the University’s incubator programme – set up to support new technology companies. The success of this ‘graduate’ has served to inspire the other nine businesses currently linked to the scheme.

The company is highly regarded for its SpaceWire technology, which acts as a spacecraft's nervous system to connect much of its on-board computing technology. It will be used next year in BepiColombo - the joint European and Japanese space mission to explore the planet Mercury.

The Space Technology Centre is part of the University’s School of Computing. The Centre works closely with STAR-Dundee on onboard data handling, planetary lander technology and satellite data reception.

The Chambers of Commerce Scottish Business Honours 2014 takes winning businesses from local Chambers of Commerce and showcases the best at the nationwide ceremony.


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