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Four entrepreneurs welcomed to UK Space Agency accelerator programme

Ashley Johnson, Nic Ross, Myles Harris, Portia Bowman. Credit UK Space Agency
Ashley Johnson, Nic Ross, Myles Harris, Portia Bowman. Credit UK Space Agency

London, 12 April 2023.- UK Space Agency has welcomed four entrepreneurs to the accelerator programme this year. Their backgrounds range from simulations and sustainability to propulsion and a circular space economy.

The accelerator programme aims to develop a thriving ecosystem of high-growth space entrepreneurs in every corner of the UK. The four selected will join other participants for the agency’s first Explore programme as they take their first commercial steps into the UK’s space industry. 

The entrepreneurs are Myles Harris founding CEO of Space Health Research, Nic Ross founding CEO of Niparo, Ashley Johnson founding CEO of Applied Atomics and Portia Bowman, founding CEO of Growbotics Space Ltd.

Myles Harris trained as a nurse and has worked as a senior nursing lecturer for a number of years. During his PhD he founded a research group in 2020 that led to the first UK analogue mission and went on to found Space Health Research. Space Health Research provides services such as testing technologies and products, scientific research, and leadership teamwork training. 

Nic Ross completed a PhD in Astrophysics at Durham University. Nic founded his space sustainability, Niparo, in 2020. Niparo is focused on making the UK space sector more sustainable by encouraging strong environmental regulations and discouraging greenwashing. 

Ashley Johnson studied Aerospace Engineering and founded Applied Atomics in 2022 during his master’s degree. Applied Atomics is a UK space propulsion start-up which is developing a new breed of propulsion system. The system enabled advanced in-orbit manoeuvres and deep space interplanetary missions.

Portia Bowman has studied both physics and space systems engineering. She has worked as an engineer on ESA and NASA missions before pursuing a business leadership role. Portia founded Growbotics, a company dedicated to developing the tools, components and processes necessary for a circular space economy. The company aims to develop technology to reuse components in orbit to reduce waste. 

The UK Space Agency Accelerator is currently accepting applications for its Leo and Geo programmes until 21st April. A live Q and A webinar on the two programmes is taking place on Monday 17th April with Mike Stephens, CEO at Entrepreneurial Spark. You can find out more and apply now at The applications for the next Explore cohort will open in May.

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