In the latest edition of our quarterly series, UKspace looks back on the second three months of 2019 and highlights some of the key activities coming out of the UK space sector.
The second quarter of 2019 began with news of the two health-related initiatives, with the UK Space Agency and NHS linking up. The first aims to tackle cancer using technology used to observe stars millions of miles away, while the second will provide real-time diagnosis of bowel cancer and freedom from air pollution.
Meanwhile, the effects of a massive, global dust storm on the Red Planet were revealed by the ExoMars mission, while the first ‘Marsquake’ was also captured by InSight’s Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure.
In an effort to showcase the range of satellite technology expertise in the UK, Science Minister Chris Skidmore announced the publication of a new register of specialist products and services, that could help tackle challenges of illegal deforestation, disaster response and food production.
It was an award-winning month for Teledyne Defence & Space which received a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2019 for International Trade.
May began with a scientific breakthrough that could have major benefits for future space missions. For the first time, a team of scientists from the National Nuclear Laboratory and University of Leicester generated electricity from americium, a rare chemical element, which could see space missions being powered for up to 400 years.
In Scotland, STAR-Dundee’s development of the next generation of SpaceWire technology, SpaceFibre, which provides very high speed data transfer onboard spacecraft, was rewarded by the European Space Agency’s standardisation body with the publication of the SpaceFibre standard, ECSS-E-ST-50-11C.
Airbus also secured two deals during the month; it was selected by Malaysia’s MEASAT to build MEASAT-3d, a new multi-mission telecommunications satellite, and the company won a three satellite deal from Inmarsat for revolutionary spacecraft OneSat.
In June, Chris Skidmore announced that a new National Space Council would be established later this year, providing strategic leadership on space across government, coordinating all aspects of the UK’s space strategy, investment and use of space through a new National Space Framework.
Additionally, the UK Space Agency said that up to £20m could be made available for Spaceport Cornwall and Virgin Orbit as part of the Industrial Strategy spaceflight programme, LaunchUK. Furthermore, the UK and USA are joining forces on a scientific programme to provide early warning of imminent, damaging space weather, thanks to a cutting-edge ‘plasma analyser’ being developed by UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory.
The month also saw the launch of new UKspace website, which aims to deliver even greater value to visitors through the breadth of information provided, as well as being a working site for UKspace members to access documents and paperwork through a new depository.