Please note that this programme is the expected running order of the event, but it is subject to change without notice. This page will be regularly updated.

You'll get your badge and programme when you arrive. If you're late, it's not a problem, but you must register at reception before attending any talks.

Saturday 4th March

08:30 Registration

09:00 Welcome and Opening

09:20 PANEL
Exploration vs Exploitation

10:30 Break & Careers Fair
kindly sponsored by CGI

11:05 HE Space Institute of Physics

11:15 Airbus Presentation Competition Cathrine Armour

11:50 Matt Cosby
Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd

12:25 Lucy Berthoud
Thales Alenia Space UK

13:00 Sam Lavender

13:35 Lunch & Careers Fair

14:35 Samiksha Mestry
TU Delft
Joseph Dudley
Alex Vano-Vinuales
University of Cardiff

15:10 Sean Burns
Ross Irvine
Stewart Turner
Met Office

15:45 Break & Careers Fair
kindly sponsored by Reaction Engines Ltd.

Dr David Parker


17:20 Presentation of UKSEDS Awards

17:50 Networking Reception
kindly sponsored by Thales Alenia Space UK
  19:10 Evening Social
at Pieminister
Sunday 5th March

09:00 Registration

09:30 PANEL
Startups in the Space Sector
Ask Me Anything

10:40 Break & Careers Fair
kindly sponsored by CGI

11:15 Keynote: Prof. Carole Mundell
University of Bath

12:25 Lunch & Careers Fair

13:25 Nathan Mayne
University of Exeter
Simon Evetts
Blue Abyss

14:00 Jan Dierckx
Foster + Partners
Matjaz Vidmar
University of Edinburgh

14:45 UKSEDS Annual General Meeting
  17:00 Day Ends


David Parker

KEYNOTE: Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration

Dr David Parker | European Space Agency

David is Director of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration at the European Space Agency. He has been involved in the UK space sector since 1990 having completed a PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Southampton. He worked in British Aerospace Space Systems as a propulsion and guidance, navigation and control (GNC) engineer and later in management and business development roles in EADS Astrium, and most recently as Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency.

The Human Spaceflight and Robotoc Exploration directorate works to secure Europe’s central role in global space exploration, deliver new results in both basic and applied science and offer a compelling vision of global endeavour, enriching society and inspiring the next generations. This includes the operation of the International Space Statetion, planning of future human exploration in and beyond low Earth orbit, and the development of future Mars and Lunar landers.

Panel: Exploration vs Exploitation

For most of the space age, humanity has been focused on exploring space – studying distant stars, landing on the Moon, and sending rovers to Mars, landers to Venus and Titan, and probes everywhere else. It is only in recent years that we have been able to begin to exploit space for communications, navigation, and Earth observation data. The first space race was a race to explore, but today's space race is a race to exploit, to build the largest satellite constellations, mine asteroids, and set up private space stations.

What should the UK be focusing on? How can the we continue to push the boundaries of science whilst also encouraging economic growth? How are the roles of national space agencies changing as space becomes commercialised?

The panel will include:

Andy Bacon

Andy Bacon | Thales Alenia Space UK

Andy is a Senior Space Systems Engineer at Thales Alenia Space UK and former Co-Lead of the Near Earth Object working group of the Space Generation Advisory Council. He studied Electronic Engineering with Space Science Technology at the University of Bath where he founded BathSEDS, a branch of UKSEDS.

Cathrine Armour

Sci-fi, Space & Start-ups

Cathrine Armour (@venturyst) | South West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications

Cathrine is Director of the South West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, focused on engagement of start-ups and SMEs in CR&D, innovation and commercialisation of satellite data and technology-centric products and services. Additionally, as Director of Venturyst the science, technology and innovation advocacy, she advises government and business on strategic programmes in science, technology and innovation. She holds a degree in Science, Environmental Studies and GIS & Spatial Analysis from James Cook University, Australia.

Whether the human centric, space disaster of Sandra Bullock and Matt Damon or the communications and contact thriller Arrival, Hollywood is having a space moment. While their stellar infatuation is opening minds to the realms of space possibilities are they setting unrealistic expectations for space innovators, entrepreneurs and investors? The reality of a career in space science, satellite technology or indeed science-centric innovation is not always as adventurous as portrayed by Hollywood Directors. But it has its moments, and, more so, it’s opportunities. And they all start with “good old fashioned brain power” (Hidden Figures, 2017)

Matt Cosby

Space Careers in Cornwall

Matt Cosby | Goonhilly Earth Station

Matt is Director of Space Engineering at Goonhilly Earth Station, where he works to expanding capabilities at the site including the deep space communications, orbit tracking, and development of new communication systems. He was previously Chief Communications Engineer for the QinetiQ UK's space group, where he was responsible for technical leadership of the planetary communications team, including the UHF transceiver on ESA's ExoMars project. He read Physics with Space Science and Technology at the University of Leicester, and has worked in the space sector for over 20 years.

Cornwall is developing plans to repurpose one Goonhilly’s telecommunications dishes into a Deep Space Network compatible antenna. This asset will sit alongside ESA & NASA’s established network and support the expanding commercial exploration missions. Goonhilly, in partnership with ESA and SSTL, are developing a commercial lunar mission which will deliver small missions to lunar orbit and offer communications back to the Earth. The Aerohub project is about growing jobs within two key sectors Space and Aerospace by attracting inward investment to and developing and enhancing the two unique “physical innovation assets” Cornwall Airport Newquay and Goonhilly.

Lucy Berthoud

Is there Life on Mars?

Dr Lucy Berthoud | University of Bristol and Thales Alenia Space UK

Lucy is a Spacecraft Systems Engineer, with a PhD in Space Physics from ENSAE, Toulouse and a degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Bristol. She has worked in the Space Industry for twenty five years on interplanetary spacecraft missions to Mars, Venus, Mercury, Moon and comets. She was a visiting scientist at NASA Johnson Space Center looking at planetary cratering and at the European Space Agency investigating space debris and then worked in Mission Systems at Airbus Defence and Space. She now works for Thales Alenia Space UK on Mars Sample Return missions and teaches Spacecraft design at the University of Bristol.

Could there be life on Mars? How could life possibly survive here on this cold hostile planet flooded with radiation? How can we bring back a pristine sample from Mars to Earth and investigate it for life? Lucy will unpack all these questions in a visually engaging talk with exciting props.

Samantha Lavender

Innovation in Earth Observation

Dr Samantha Lavender (@pixalytics) | Pixalytics Ltd

Samantha has over 20 years research experience with a focus on the use of satellite Earth observation to help answer questions about our planet’s resources and behaviour. She has been running companies for just over 8 years, currently Managing Director of Pixalytics Ltd, and is also actively involved with volunteering, which includes being Chairman of the British Association of Remote Sensing Companies (BARSC) and Honorary Reader of Geomatics at Plymouth University.

A striking development in Earth Observation (EO) is the increased availability of data, with an increase in commercially developed missions being matched by free to access government funded missions such as the European Copernicus series. This results in an increasing wealth of tasked high spatial resolution datasets alongside systematic coverage from lower resolution globally focused missions. In turn, leading to a move towards using remote computing so that large datasets don’t need to be downloaded. There's also an increased uptake by non-specialists, using the analytical power of computers to interrogate large datasets to extract valuable information.

Samiksha Mestry

In-space Micropropulsion using Green propellants

Samiksha Mestry (@spacepixiee)| TU Delft

Samiksha is a Junior Lecturer at TU Delft in the Netherlands, where she teaches Space Systems Engineering. She studied at the University of Southampton, and was a member of the UKSEDS National Committee, leading on outreach, and helping to organise the National Student Space Conference in 2013 and 2014.

Without a dedicated propulsion system, nano-satellite platforms can never totally realize the potential of replacing their larger counterparts, imposing a limit on the exponential growth that CubeSats launches have shown in recent years. The strict mass, volume, and power limitations typically imposed by nano-satellite requirements need unique micro-technologies to help develop a compliant propulsion system. At TU Delft, the Micropropulsion team of Space Systems Engineering (SSE) are developing in-space micropropulsion systems. These systems will enhance propulsive capabilities that would enable nano-satellites to engage in a wider range of missions such as those characterized by many satellites flying in formation or in a constellation, possibly even in very low-altitude orbits.

Alex Vano-Vinuales

LIGO and the discovery of gravitational waves

Dr Alex Vano-Vinuales | Cardiff University

Alex is a postdoctoral researcher in the Gravitational Physics group at Cardiff University, where he works on numerical simulations of compact objects and gravitational waveform modelling. He has been a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration since 2010, and did his PhD at the University of the Balearic Islands in Spain on the topic of numerical relativity.

Gravitational waves are tiny ripples in the curvature of spacetime that propagate at the speed of light. A century after their prediction by Albert Einstein, LIGO, the Laser Interferometry Gravitational-wave Observatory, made a great scientific breakthrough by observing them for the first time in September 2015: the detectors registered the collision of two black holes of several tens of solar masses. The era of gravitational waves has started: they will allow us to perceive the universe in a completely different way, as if instead of looking at it, we were listening to it.

Joseph Dudley

Opportunities for Students

Joseph Dudley (@jdudley1123)| UKSEDS

Joseph is Chair of UKSEDS, and a recent graduate from Imperial College London, where he read Aeronautical Engineering. As Chair he is responsible for overseeing all of UKSEDS' activities (including this conference), and setting the charity's strategy for the future. He also works full-time as Operations Director of Turinglab, an education technology company working to improve the teaching of computing in the classroom.

The UK's space sector is facing a shortage of skilled graduates, and demand is only going to increase as the sector grows. UKSEDS provides opportunites for students to gain valuable skills by taking part in competitions, hearing from industry experts, and helping to shape the future of the sector. Find out how you can enhance your CV, get involved in UKSEDS, and distract yourself from all those unfinished problem sheets.

Sean Burns

Moving a Meteorological satellite over the Indian Ocean

Sean Burns (@seandominic)| EUMETSAT

Sean is the Head of the Real-Time Services and System Operations Division at EUMETSAT. He holds degrees in Mathematics and Computing, System Engineering and also a Masters in Business Administration at the Open University. He has been involved in the operations of Meteorological Satellites for over 28 years, working in all areas of satellite and ground segment operations, and most recently has been involved in defining the operations concepts for the next generation of meteorological satellites. He is passionate about passing on space operations knowledge to students and young professionals.

What does it take to move a European meteorological satellite to cover the Indian Ocean? Why move a satellite? How does EUMETSAT plan, prepare, and then move the satellite? Who is involved? These and many more questions will be answered in this presentation.

Ross Irvine

ECLIPSE Software for CubeSats

Ross Irvine | Sapienza Consulting

Ross works as a software consultant to both the European Space Agency and the key players and Sapienza partners throughout Europe. He studied Mathematics in his home city of Glasgow, and began his early career working in the Oil & Gas industry. After 5 years in the industry, he took a year long sabbatical travelling the world, after which he decided to follow his childhood dream of working in the space industry.

Sapienza Consulting is a leading UK company who have been providing space mission and project support through people, software and services to the European institutional and commercial space sector for over 20 years. Sapienza are presently leading the way with an integrated project/product management software (ECLIPSE), designed to help space project and mission teams achieve higher efficiency and better control. Sapienza are presently undertaking a number of collaborations with universities across Europe who could benefit from utilising the ECLIPSE software for their CubeSat projects, and would like to open this offer to universities in the UK.

Stewart Turner

Predicting Chaos: Operational Satellites in Weather Forecasting

Stewart Turner | Met Office

Stewart is Space Progamme Manager at the Met Office, where he leads the UK relationship with EUMETSAT, an intergovernmental organisation for the exploitation of weather and climate satellites. Coordinating input from a wide network of contacts he ensures the position taken at EUMETSAT meetings reflects the wider UK needs. He is the UK delegate to EUMETSAT’s Scientific and Technical Group and the Met Office point of contact for satellite-related activities. He read Physics with Space Science & Systems at the Universit of Kent, and the completed a Master's in Satellite Engineering at the University of Surrey, and is delighted to have a role which allows him to "talk about space without needing to understand equations".

Carl Sagan said you have to know the past to understand the present. In weather forecasting, you have to know the present to understand the future. Knowing the current state of the atmosphere is essential to predicting the weather, and operational weather satellites provide the most important source of input data. So how do we get and use the data? How do we know it’s worth the money? And what does ‘operational’ mean anyway? This talk will address these questions and explain the critical link between weather forecasting and space.


Carole Mundell

KEYNOTE: Black-hole Driven Explosions and the Dynamic Universe

Prof. Carole Mundell (@cgmundell)| University of Bath

Carole is Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy and Head of Physics at the University of Bath. After reading Physics and Astronomy at University of Glasgow, she moved to the University of Manchester's Jodrell Bank Observatory for her PhD, followed by a research fellowship, on the dynamics of active galaxies. She moved to the US for two years, taking-up a research post at the University of Maryland, College Park, then returned to the UK in 1999, bringing a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to the Astrophysics Research Institute at Liverpool John Moore's University. Here, she diversified her research interests to include Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) and developed the Liverpool GRB group. In recognition of this, in 2005 she was awarded a Research Councils UK Academic Fellowship and in 2007 became Professor of Extragalactic Astronomy. In that same year, her team won the Times Higher Research Project of the Year award for 'Measuring Gamma Ray Bursts', and in 2011, she won a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award for the study of 'Black-hole Driven Explosions and the Dynamic Universe'. Her team went onto further success winning the Vice-chancellor's medal for Research Scholarship and Knowledge Transfer in 2014. In 2015, Carole was appointed Head of Astrophysics at the University if Bath to establish a new astrophysics research group and undergraduate programme. In 2016, she was named FDM Everywoman in Technology Woman of the Year and was appointed Head of the Department of Physics at the University of Bath.

Predicted from Einstein's theory of General Relativity, black-holes have been confirmed to exist in nature but questions regarding their origin and influence in the Universe remain at the forefront of modern astronomy. In this talk, Carole will give a flavour of the different kinds of black holes we have discovered, the impact they have on their environments and the revolution in our understanding that is expected in the coming decade as we develop new ground- and space-based technology that will open up new windows on energetic, transient phenomena in our dynamic universe.

Panel: Startups in the Space Sector

The startup session will have a summary of the startup scene in the UK, along with a showcase a number of startups within the space sector. Following this will be an opportunity to ask questions of some of the people involved in these new space companies.

Pari Singh

Pari Singh (@parikshat7) | The Rocket Company

Pari is CEO and Co-Founder of The Rocket Company, a startup working to re-invent the rocket engineering design process to bring agile software development philosophy to rocket hardware, with a goal of reducing development costs by 10-30x and dramatically speeding up interation time. He studied Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London, where he was also Chief Engineer on the ICSEDS Hybrid Rocket Engine Design Project.

James Lynn

James Lynn | Canaria

James is Chief Technical Officer at Canaria, a startup leading product development to revolutionise biometric monitoring in the space, mining, and healthcare sectors. He studies Electronic Engineering with Space Systems at the University of Surrey, where he was also President of Surrey Electronic and Amateur Radio Society (EARS), a branch of UKSEDS.

Vincent Fraux

Vincent Fraux | Oxford Space Systems

Vincent is Head of Design and Co-Founder of Oxford Space Systems (OSS), which works to develop a new generation of deployable structures that are lighter, less complex and lower cost than those in current commercial demand. He studied Aerospace Engineering at Kingston University, before getting a Master's in Astronautics and Space Engineering from Cranfield University.

Panel: Ask Me Anything

Not sure what to do with your future? Wondering whether to do a Master's or a PhD, or apply for a graduate scheme? Worried your CV might not be up to scratch? Get some advice from current students and graduates who have been through it all.

Amy Skelt

Amy Skelt | University of York

Amy is a PhD student researching Quantum Thermodynamics at the University of York, having previously studied Theoretical Physics there. She is a member of the UKSEDS outreach team.

Karolina Nikolova

Karolina Nikolova | Thales Alenia Space UK/University of Bath

Karolina is a penultimate year Aerospace Engineering student at the University of Bath due to graduate in May 2018. She is half-way through a 12-month internship as a Space Systems Engineer at Thales Alenia Space UK in Bristol. She is a member of the UKSEDS careers team.

Tom Boulton

Tom Boulton | Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL)

Tom is a Graduate Electrical Engineer at SSTL, where he provides support for the Mechanisms department and completed a short rotations with other teams supporting the testing and integrating across a range of modules. He studied Space Technology and Planetary Exploration at the University of Surrey, and was Treasurer of UKSEDS while a student.

Matjaz Vidmar

Matjaz Vidmar | University of Edinburgh

Matjaz is a postgraduate research student in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He previously completed a Bachelor's in Physics and a Master's in Science and Technology in Society, both at the University of Edinburgh.

Nathan Mayne

The Climates of Exoplanets

Dr Nathan Mayne | University of Exeter

Nathan is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter in the Astrophysics group, where he works to understand exoplanets. His research also contributes to our understanding of our own planet, and he works with the Met Office on climate modelling.

Observations are now able to glimpse into the atmospheres of some of the largest and hottest exoplanets, while smaller and more potentially Earth-like planets are being discovered. Sophisticated atmospheric models are required to interpret these observations, either adapted from those used to model Earth's climate or generated from scratch. Dr Mayne will discuss the current state of the observational constraints, and how are are developing model frameworks to solve some of the puzzles posed by the most observationally constrained exoplanets. Dr Mayne will also discuss efforts to begin explore the parameter space within which Earth-like planets could exists.

Simon Evetts

Water - an Underpinning for Human Spaceflight

Prof. Simon Evetts | Blue Abyss and Human Spaceflight Capitalisation Office

Until recently Simon led the Medical Projects & Technology Unit at the European Astronaut Centre, Cologne, supporting the health of European astronauts. Since leaving EAC he has taken on the role of Space Operations Director for Blue Abyss, an extreme environment training facility under development. He has been instrumental in developing the field of space biomedicine in the UK over the last 15 years, co-founding the UK Space Life & Biomedical Sciences and UK Space Environments Associations in support of this cause. He is a Visiting Senior Lecturer at Kings College London, a Visiting Professor at Northumbria University, and has most recently established the Human Spaceflight Capitalisation Office at Harwell.

Space is the most uncompromising and extreme environment that humans live and work in. As such there is a necessity to familiarise and train to minimise the risks of doing so. Water is a medium available on earth which can enable partial and neutral buoyancy to be experienced thus replicating to some degree the feel and requirements of being in the microgravity environment. Presently neutral buoyancy training for government astronauts necessitates approximately seven hours of pool training for every single hour of Extra Vehicle Activity (EVA). With the advent of commercial human spaceflight the general public will ultimately also wish to experience EVA. Water will underpin the necessary preparation for this unique experience.

Jan Dierckx

Designing for another world - Lunar and Martian Habitats

Jan Dierckx (@drxjan)| Foster + Partners

Jan is part of the Specialist Modelling Group at Foster + Partners where he advises on complex geometry and design to manufacturing. He consults on projects worldwide including the Bloomberg and Apple Headquarters. Jan combines this role with several research initiatives in the practice and with collaborators, which range from a speculative design for a Martian habitat to software and workflow development for large-scale 3D printing. His current focus is to bring compliant industrial robotics into architecture and he is now managing robotics innovation initiatives in the practice after setting up their first robotic arm. He studied in Belgium, Germany, and at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London, and is still involved with academia worldwide through lectures and workshops.

It is in human nature to explore, and permanent settlements of people on other planets are only a matter of time. Designing for these extremely hostile environments invites architects to rethink buildings. They need to be as integrated as can be, combining a marvel of engineering with a beautiful aesthetic and enable a healthy living environment. The deployment and construction of the settlement uses 3D Printing on indigenous materials and is designed to take place before the astronauts arrive. The system relies on rules and objectives rather than closely defined instructions which makes it more adaptive to unexpected challenges.

Matjaz Vidmar

Gateway Earth Development Group

Matjaz Vidmar (@vidmarmatjaz) | University of Edinburgh

Matjaz is a postgraduate research student in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh. A Physicist by training, specialising in Astronomical Instrumentation, he primarily researches innovation, knowledge transfer and business incubation in Astronomy and the Space Science, such as in satellite technology and data. He is involved in a variety of projects, serving as an Assistant Editor at the Journal of Astrosociology and Policy Lead for Gateway Earth Development Group.

The Gateway Earth Development Group (GEDG) seeks to design a technically and economically viable architecture for the next phase of interplanetary space exploration. We are proposing to utilise space tourism as an enabler for the development of a space station in Earth’s geostationary orbit, at which interplanetary spacecraft could be build and serviced to take astronauts on missions across the solar system. Access to this space gateway will be provided by deploying re-usable vehicles, which will in stages - through Low Earth Orbit - deliver goods and people to the station. It is currently seeking new members for all corners of the space industry, in particular students and young professionals, to fully develop this vision and bring about a true international partnership to deliver this key stepping stone in the future of space exploration.

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