Day 2 UK Space Conference – Space Can Help …

I’ve come back for the second day … something I wouldn’t have guaranteed on the journey up to Glasgow. Today began with a far too short panel discussion from business and organisational representatives on the practical challenges and opportunities available for space companies. Incredibly thought provoking, and provided realism behind the challenge to make the UK Space Industry worth £40 billion by 2030. A lasting image for me was provided by a speaker referring to data centres as the industrial furnaces of our generation.

UK Space Conference logo

UK Space Conference logo

The next session examined the impact of science! The first reminder was that to leverage science, you first have to do the science! Scientific research must underpin the 2030 growth challenge, which in turn means that science school education, undergraduates and postgraduates must also develop rapidly to provide future entrepreneurs and employees. The speakers illustrated how science could be used to leverage funding, new businesses, satellites and space missions. The most surprising revelation of the session was not that the UK is now considered the third most innovative nation by the World Intellectual Property Organisation, but that Switzerland was number one!

After lunch we had a premiere of the new promotion video of the UK Space Agency – although we did note that the South West seemed to be cut off the UK throughout most of the video – we do space down there too! There were lots of positive statements about the UK Space Agency, TSB, Catapult and Harwell being conduits, rather than centralisation. Although the reality of how they will work regionally with SME’s was less obvious.

The final session looked at the future for space technology covering a wide range of concepts from reusable launchers, Terabyte Broadband, high altitude platforms through to disposable satellites and asteroid mining.

Overall the conference has been a lot more accessible, interesting, inspiring and motivating than I expected. Sam may regret her suggestion for me to attend, as I have lots of potential ideas – she’s going to be busy. To carry on yesterday’s borrowing from Neil Armstrong, not sure I can say I have made a giant leap into space, perhaps a large stride!