STAFF at Oxford Space Systems are celebrating after being named The Hawkins Business of the Year at the Oxfordshire Business Awards.

Chief executive Mike Lawton also won The Shaw Gibbs Business Person of the Year Award on June 15.

The celebrations at the company’s Harwell Oxford base are continuing as the firm has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2018 Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award.

Oxford Space Systems is currently developing deployable antennas, carbon fibre boom systems and deployable panel systems for satellites.

Last year it moved into the Harwell campus’s new Zephyr building, taking out a ten-year lease on a 14,000sq ft unit.

The company said at the time the move would take it to the 'next stage' of its growth plans.

Mr Lawton said following the move: “We are now sure to benefit from the Government’s investment in the UK’s National Space Test Facility here, giving us greater access to the type of organisations we are keen to explore opportunities with.”

Earlier this month, Prince Andrew was shown new antenna technology developed by Oxford Space Systems. The company’s approach enables it to deliver innovative structures that reduce build and launch costs for space systems such as satellites. Getting a structure into orbit comes at a high cost - up to £50,000 per kilogram in a volume-constrained rocket.

Oxford Space Systems is among three finalists competing for the academy’s MacRobert Award.

The winner of the £50,000 prize was due to be announced last night.

The academy’s website said: “OSS’ latest antenna technology is opening up a global market by increasing the quality and competitiveness of antenna-enabled services such as GPS, earth observation and telecommunication.

“The company uses novel design approaches such as origami engineering, together with unique, proprietary materials such as its AstroTube™ flexible composite.

“Following the principles of the 17th century Japanese art form, origami engineering has been used to design materials and structures that can bend, stretch and retract, overcoming traditional design constraints and resulting in remarkable performance characteristics.

“The company’s ‘shape memory’ flexible antenna surface simplifies the design and increases its reliability and efficiency.

“With over 1,700 satellites currently in orbit, the costs savings these innovations provide could be a game-changer for the space industry.”

Alongside the European Space Agency, Oxford Space Systems has contracts with Airbus Defence & Space, Thales Alenia Space, LuxSpace and other customers.

Oxford Space Systems has already set records. In 2015, the company was selected for the UK Space Agency’s AlSat Nano mission, achieving a world-first with the longest ever retractable 'CubeSat' boom in orbit.

OSS can also claim to have achieved the space industry’s fastest full cycle hardware development - from material design to in-orbit demonstration in 30 months.

MacRobert Award Judge Dr Frances Saunders said: “The UK space sector is a genuine success story, worth £13.7bn to the economy and providing 40,000 jobs. Oxford Space Systems’ claim to a world record of the fastest time from concept to orbit for a new material, as well as cost savings they provide in relation to space deployment, is a great example of efficiencies that will ensure continued growth.”