This conference will provide an opportunity to respond to the publication of a UK Government policy paper on human spaceflight. The timeliness is heightened by the impending launch of Britain’s first official astronaut, Tim Peake, to the International Space Station (ISS).
In July 2015 the UK Space Agency published the paper "National Strategy: Space Environments and Human Spaceflight". The major new feature of the strategy is that it formally confirmed that the UK now supports the human exploration of space. In the 1980s, Britain pulled back from the decision by other European countries to partner with the USA (and eventually Russia, Japan and Canada) in building the ISS. This negative decision by the UK had the effect of denying British citizens the chance to become part of Europe’s astronaut community and also closed off significant business opportunities to UK industry. The new Strategy document signals a change to the 30-year policy of restricting participation in space exploration to robotic missions.
The background to the conference is dominated by the impending launch of Britain’s first official astronaut, Tim Peake, to the ISS. Tim is a member of the European Astronaut Corps at the European Space Agency (ESA), and is due to spend six months on the ISS undertaking a variety of scientific and technological experiments. His mission also includes activities designed to engage young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The conference will provide an opportunity to review the status and significance of his mission just two weeks before his scheduled launch.
This conference will provide an opportunity for the UK Space Agency to explain its new strategy. The Society’s Space Specialist Group is preparing a discussion paper in response which will be presented and published at the conference. In addition, the Society’s Aerospace Medicine Specialist Group will identify and discuss key issues from their perspective. The conference will include presentations by recognised human spaceflight experts and practitioners and the programme will be released shortly, so please check back for updates.
Have Your Say
Human spaceflight excites many people and evokes a wide range of views. We are therefore planning a soapbox session in which people may present their reactions to the UK Space Agency’s new strategy document in a 5 minute pitch.
A link to the new strategy document is available on our website. Please note that the strategy covers two topics: (1) “space environments” which is the term it uses for what is often referred to as “microgravity research” and (2) human spaceflight. To ensure a focused discussion, the conference will only address the second point, human spaceflight. If you would like to participate in the soapbox session, please submit a summary of what you wish to present and any relevant biographical information in no more than 140 characters (i.e. Twitter compatible) to the Conference and Events Department on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)20 7670 4345. The deadline for submitting this is Friday 30 October.
Entries deemed suitable for the conference will then be asked to submit a 140 word abstract for review by the organising committee. This will be due on Friday 13 November.
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