Sunday, 1 March 2015

UKSEDS 2015 National Space Conference [Updated]

So this year a mate from uni and myself decided to go on a daytrip to the 2015 UKSEDS National Students Space Conference, at the University of Surrey. UKSEDS, or 'UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space' organise this event annually and have a variety of guest speakers from industry and academia to talk about current research and job prospects in the space sector. We attended on Saturday and had a great time listening to experts in their fields and even getting to meet them.

Topics covered included the challenges of hypersonic air breathing flight, PCL Laboratories, the future of citizen science (by Prof. Chris Lintott of The Sky at Night and Stargazing Live fame), putting the UK back into space, Lunar Mission One and the Rosetta Mission by lead scientist Dr Matt Taylor (video at the bottom of this post).

The first lecture discussed how to move away from staged rocket launches to get into orbit, by using ramjets/scramjets, and the issues that face these technologies (such as the engines melting!). The second was a lecture (complete with David Bowie) about the activities of the PCL company, which manufactures specialised circuitry for space applications. Prof. Lintott's lecture was an entertaining discussion of how the public can be used to sort through big data, like that produced by modern telescopes, and why people rather than code are needed to spot the unexpected. The fourth talk was about how the UK is involved in all aspects of space technology except the actual launch - and why we could have a UK spaceport in the next decade. Lecture number 5 gave an overview of the Lunar Mission One, a proposed robotic mission to the lunar south pole which will be crowd-funded. Finally the keynote speaker was Dr. Matt Taylor on the Rosetta mission to comet 67P - and how it has been a huge scientific success.

Overall it was a interesting day and I recommend going if you're a physics/astronomy/engineering student interested in space, particularly if you're in your final year as it's a great opportunity to mingle with the biggest space sector employers.

Update: Keynote talk by Dr. Matt Taylor on the Rosetta mission:

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