John Hooser

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An Outline Of The UK Space Agency's Future Initiatives


The UK Space Agency is looking for a strong leader to take over from interim CEO Dr. Robert Bray. Dr Bray stepped in to temporarily fill the role as CEO when Mr. David Stoppelberg stepped down last month. The interim CEO was acting as a technical support and program manager while the board of directors looked into a larger reorganization of the agency. If you are interested in learning more detailed information, then follow the space news at


Currently the UK Space Agency is working on a new D Orbiter project which will allow for the testing of equipment and software needed for the design of a modular space launch vehicle and the construction of the base unit for the craft. The U.S. -based company Astrium is providing the U.K. space agency with the U.K.'s first D Orbiting Laser System (DOLS). The system will allow the U.K. to simulate the launch conditions of space and to evaluate the performance of various components.


The UK Space Agency is also involved in the design and development of the global space sector's future technologies. One such technology involves the concept of automated storage cells called modular resisters. The modular resisters are manufactured at the factory and then shipped to space. Once there they are assembled and attached to the resister base. This helps to improve the space station assembly process and reduce costs associated with reusing components.


Another piece of technology being tested at UK Space Agency centers is the concept of putting small satellites into orbit around the proposed Lagrange point, also known as a LBT or launch capture area. The idea behind this is to build a small satellite that can then be captured by the U.S. -based Loral Research Center. The center is currently testing a new software tool that would allow a small satellite to capture a smaller satellite that is in a LBT, or launch capture orbit. The U.S. based centers have already expressed an interest in having such a test conducted.


A third experiment in the works for the UK Space Agency would launch an astronomy aircraft. Called the Sentour Express, the aircraft will use a small satellite to study two specific binary star systems. The first system is called HR87 initially, but it will eventually be named HR90. The plane will fly close to the star in question, collect data, and return photos of it. During this research phase, the aircraft will also attempt to launch a small satellite into orbit.


A fourth experiment in the works for the UK Space Agency would launch an unmanned probe called the VOX-lander. This probe will fly by and land on a possible moon base. If this happens, the UK government envisions it could lead to the building of a permanent moon base in the future. Such technology is not readily available from the U.S. or Russia, however, and the VOX-lander may prove to be the pathway to exploring space for the United Kingdom.


Another idea that the UK Space Agency is researching for the future is how to move satellites around the globe using a mini-satellite propulsion system. Called the PACE (Polar Satellite Altitude Experiment), the system would send small satellites into space that would not be equipped to survive re-entry. However, when they return they would be equipped with a propulsion system that would allow them to travel back to earth. This technology could be applied to several different technologies, including sending robotic explorers to explore space debris.


Perhaps the most exciting idea that the UK Space Agency is pursuing right now is studying the possibility of establishing a permanent Scotland space port. Scotland is already home to a number of low-orbit satellites, which serve as research and telecommunications platforms. A Scotland spaceport could use these same satellites to conduct experiments, conduct remote-earth imaging, and to collect data for future space exploration. If all goes according to plan, the UK will soon have an official launch facility at its Edinburgh base.

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