The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is one of seven research councils in the UK. The research councils form part of UK government and report to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). STFC runs major science programmes using its own research capability and acts in support of the major UK physical science facilities, as a result of which it is able to offer access to world-class science expertise and facilities to UK industry and to other government agency customers. The major STFC sites are: Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire; Daresbury Laboratory, Cheshire; Chilbolton Observatory, Hampshire; and UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh.
RAL Space is STFC’s ‘Space Department’, supporting the programmes of STFC, as well as undertaking a large number of contracts for agencies, industry and other commercial customers. RAL Space provides world-leading research and technology development, space test facilities, instrument and mission design, and studies of science and technology requirements for new missions. RAL Space has been in the business of producing instruments and software for space flight, and in building and operating ground segments since the mid-1970s. RAL Space is also a prime technical institute of the UK Space Agency and supports the space community by providing the complete range of skills and technology necessary for the construction, testing and calibration of space instruments for which it has ISO9001:2000 certification. It also conducts a number of key technology development programmes, aimed at advancing the state-of-the-art in areas of strategic importance to the space community.
RAL Space has a long history of providing AIV facilities at its Harwell site for the broad UK space community. The AIV Group is managed and operated by a team of people who use their knowledge and experience, balanced with enthusiasm, to provide customers with a high-quality testing service which is both flexible and responsive. The AIV Group provides customer support to:
- define and understand test specifications;
- assist with the design and manufacture of test fixtures;
- adapt facilities to meet exacting test requirements; provide cost and schedule information; and
- ensure a professional and reliable service.