Major space conference celebrates the latest UK advancements in space science and Earth observation
07 Dec 2017



Leading figures from the UK space industry gathered in Oxfordshire to discuss advances in space science and Earth observation, and to share tips on some of the industry’s key technology challenges as well as hearing major announcements.


​​Audience at the 13th Appleton Space Conference​

Credit: STFC RAL Space

​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 were 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 will enable more small companies to grow in the UK. 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 forecastin​g 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. 

13th Appleton Space Conference presentations are now available. 

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries