Space conference celebrates UK advancements in space science and Earth observation

7 December 2017

Leading figures from the UK space industry gathered in Oxfordshire today to discuss the latest advances in space science and Earth observation, learn about some of the industry’s key technology challenges and to hear of the latest major announcements from the UK Space Agency and the Satellite Applications Catapult.

The eminent group of specialists from across research, academia, industry and international partners met at the UK’s main hub for space science, the Harwell Campus near Didcot, for the STFC RAL Space ‘Appleton Space Conference’.

Conference Chair Dr Chris Mutlow, Director of STFC RAL Space, said:

“I am delighted to welcome friends and colleagues from the space sector to Oxfordshire. A wealth of ideas and enthusiasm is being shared today and I, personally, am looking forward to the challenges of the next year. These are exciting times for space and the many new investments announced today in this sector in the UK will enable more small companies to grow. The next year will also be exciting for RAL Space as we’ll be breaking ground on the National Satellite Test Facility, which will help UK companies to be more competitive in a global market.”

The keynote speaker was Dame Julia Slingo, who has recently retired as the Met Office Chief Scientist, and gave her 10 year forecast for climate science and the role of Earth observation. 

Orbital Micro Systems, which established its UK headquarters in Harwell, signed a contract with the Satellite Applications Catapult to put its new miniaturized weather observing and forecasting technology into space. The shoebox sized satellite will be launched in autumn 2018 from the International Space Station. 

Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency also announced support for small businesses with £200,000 of funding for 4 new business incubators to boost the number of start-up companies in the space sector across the UK. The UK Space Agency now supports 15 space sector incubators in 22 locations across the country, including the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre run by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at the Harwell Campus. 

STFC RAL Space has already had significant involvement in over 210 space missions and as part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy is the future site of the £99 million UK government funded National Satellite Testing Facility. This year alone, the RAL Space team has been involved in missions to understand climate change, study the Sun, and rover development and as well being involved in projects from China to Brazil.

Media contact

Jake Gilmore, STFC Media Manager
Tel: 07970 994586

Notes to Editor

STFC RAL Space
RAL Space is an integral part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL). RAL Space carries out world-class space research and technology development with involvement in over 210 space missions.
@RAL_Space_STFC

“New Business Incubators will help space grow” - UK Space Agency announce £200,000 of funding for 4 new business incubators.

“UK to send ‘New Paradigm’ in Weather Forecasting into Space” - Orbital Micro System sign a contract with the Satellite Applications Catapult, part of the In Orbit Demonstration (IOD) Programme, funded by Innovate UK.

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000