Out-of-this-world conference lands in Oxford

13 December 2018

The UK’s annual flagship space conference, STFC RAL Space’s Appleton Space Conference, was held on Thursday 6th December at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL). The conference is a celebration of the UK’s latest advancements in space science and Earth observation.

Chris Skidmore, the newly appointed Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, visited the conference and toured RAL Space’s satellite test facilities. On his second day in office, the Minister spoke to the conference noting the ongoing success of the sector and in particular the expansion of RAL Space with the new National Satellite Test Facility and the growth of the Harwell Space Cluster which has grown by 19% since 2017 to 950 employees across 89 organisations.

Professor Chris Mutlow, Director of STFC RAL Space said, "It was a privilege to welcome Chris Skidmore, especially so early in his new role, to the conference and share with him the latest announcements in space technology and their applications, along with the progress of the Harwell Space Cluster as a regional focus to support the UK space sector’s aim to capture 10% of the global space market by 2030. STFC RAL Space will be further boosting this growth through the additional 35 new jobs about to be advertised for the UK’s £99m National Satellite Test Facility. I am very much looking forward to the many exciting developments in the UK space community over the next year that will attract investment and provide a competitive national advantage for the UK in the global space market."

The keynote speaker at the event was Dr Simon Boxall, Principal Teaching Fellow within Ocean and Earth Science at the National Oceanography Centre. He delivered a thought-provoking speech on ocean plastics considering the wider implications of this pollution, how it is viewed in the popular imagination and the long term scientific examination of plastic pollution’s impact on our seas.

The Conference welcomed speakers from RAL Space partners including Prof Günther Hasinger, Director of Science, ESA; Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive, UK Space Agency. There were talks on space exploration programmes including Mars sample return, Bepi Colombo and future lunar missions as well as sessions about satellite launch and space debris solutions.

To view several of the speaker presentations for the conference, go to the RAL Space website.

Last updated: 25 February 2019


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