Russian Space Agency set to take-off in UK

Collaborations between UK and Russian space scientists and engineers could be on the horizon following a visit to Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire

Online PR News – 13-May-2010 – – Hosted by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the seven strong delegation attended the 5th Appleton Space Conference, where leading figures discussed the very latest developments in current and future space activities.

The visit helped to build relationships with some of the UK’s leading research organisations and gave an insight into the on-site facilities that the STFC and Harwell Science and Innovation Campus has to offer.

Harwell is being developed into a world-leading centre for science and innovation as part of a joint venture between global property group Goodman, the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Approximately 4,500 people are currently employed in 100 organisations on the campus

The visit was initiated under the scope of a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ signed by TsENKI and the STFC to enhance the capabilities of UK and Russian space research through the exchange and co-operation with ‘centres-of- excellence’. It closely follows the announcement in July by Lord Drayson, the Minister of State for Science and Innovation that the European Space Agency (ESA) is to establish a facility at Harwell – a first for the UK.

Dr. Sally Ann Forsyth from Goodman, the development partner for Harwell said: “For Harwell to draw this international delegation reinforces its reputation as a world-leading location for space science and technology. It enabled us to showcase the outstanding facilities we have, in a setting that fosters open innovation and collaboration between businesses, research organisations and academia, and continues to attract interest from both start-up and global research companies.”

Richard Holdaway, who leads the Space programme for STFC at Harwell, said: “At RAL we have worked with ROSCOSMOS on past missions such as Spectrum-X, and it has been a pleasure having representatives from Roscosmos and TsENKI with us this week to discuss further future collaboration. It is an exciting time for the UK Space Community in general and the International Space innovation Centre (ISIC) at Harwell in particular”

The delegation was also invited to tour Rutherford Appleton Laboratory's Space Science and Technology Department which is the largest in Europe. It is from here that spacecraft instruments such as MIRI, one of the instruments on the James Webb Space Telescope, have undergone thermal calibration and that flagship missions such as SOHO are commanded. The 5th Appleton lecture on NASA's Plan for Exploring the Moon and Mars was given by Dr. Chris Scolese, Associate Administrator,NASA. Other speakers included Lord Drayson, Dr. David Williams, Director General BNSC, Martin Ditter, ESA's Harwell Project Manager, and Professor Matt Griffin, Cardiff University.

Future investment at Harwell will encompass fundamental scientific research and the development of property, facilities and local infrastructure, creating up to 5,000 high value knowledge-based jobs. A minimum of 100,000 sqm of laboratory, high technology industrial and office accommodation will be developed in the first phase of the project.

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Joanna Reid
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